Over 200 medical professionals and members of the public will attend a meeting next month to consider how the medical profession can help improve outcomes and modify healthcare policy to reduce the impact of birth injuries on the health of mothers.
The one day event, supported by law firm Leigh Day and hosted in collaboration with the MASIC Foundation and the Royal Society of Medicine on 22 March 2017, is titled Injuries in childbirth: raising awareness and restoring dignity for mothers.
It will mark the official launch of The MASIC Foundation, a registered charity which supports mothers who experience anal sphincter injuries during childbirth which can often result in bowel incontinence.
Latest statistics suggest that 12.8% of new mothers report faecal incontinence beyond the first 3 months postpartum. The charity, led by one of the UK’s leading colorectal surgeons, Professor Michael Keighley, aims to help mothers who often suffer in silence through embarrassment and the social stigma associated to their symptoms.
The keynote speaker at the event will be Baroness Cumberlege CBE who in 2015 conducted a review of maternity services for NHS England and is head of the National Maternity Review. She will be speaking on ‘Improving the health of the new mother.’
Baroness Cumberlege CBE said:
“Improving the health of new mothers was an important part of the national Maternity review for England.
“The report ‘Better Births’ sets out a clear way forward for mothers, babies and their families. At the event, I will be introducing the report and the progress made since its publication a year ago.
“This promotes both safety and the choices women want to make during antenatal birth and postnatal care.
“The MASIC Foundation aims to reduce the incidence of birth injury as well as helping new mothers who may be suffering in silence from its symptoms which are too often hidden in society. These issues are crucial to the future wellbeing of women and their families which I strongly support.”
Over 30 healthcare experts will tackle methods of prevention, better detection of injuries, holistic support for those who are injured as well as treatment through the topics including Helping Mothers, Informing the Professions and Changing Policy.
Those speaking include Professor Lesley Page CBE the President of the Royal College of Midwives who will be speaking on ‘Awareness in Midwifery’ as well as Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard the Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners on ‘Awareness in Primary Care’.
Mothers will also tell their stories and delegates will learn not only about the emotional price paid by women who have suffered these types of injury but also the economic consequences and employment issues they face.
The legal position of consent, compensating avoidable injury and treatment failures for women will also be discussed by leading lawyers dealing on these issues.
Professor Michael Keighley, the president of the MASIC Foundation, said:
“We hope that The MASIC Foundation will, over time, make a real difference to mothers having a baby. We will promote primary prevention through a change in midwifery practice, better detection and successful repair of injuries and a care pathway that supports mothers whose injuries were missed or where a repair broke down, so that they receive the best available advice and treatment”.
MASIC: David Standard
 Brown S, Gartland D, Perlen S, et al. Consultation about urinary and faecal incontinence in the year after childbirth: a cohort study. Br J Obstet Gynae. 2014. doi:10.1111/147-0528.12963.