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General Information and Developments

Special Circumstances

I have some learning difficulties. How will my maternity unit cater for my needs?

Generally, maternity units assess each individual mother's needs and care is tailored to suit the person. Some units encourage extra support people, others offer one-to-one care, and others involve social workers if appropriate.

Provisions made for parents with learning difficulties:
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I don't speak English. How will my maternity unit cater for my needs?

Maternity units have interpreter/translation services available where necessary and often have information leaflets in other languages.

Provisions made for non-English speaking parents or where English is a second language:
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I have some mental health issues. How will my maternity unit cater for my needs?

Not all hospitals answered this question. Some units involve their mental health midwives/team or liaison workers, others offer one-to-one care and others involve social workers if appropriate.

Provisions made for parents with mental health issues or psychiatric disorders:
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I am a teenage parent. How will my maternity unit cater for my needs?

Several hospitals provide separate antenatal classes for teenage parents, and others provide one-to-one education. Social workers are available if necessary. Some units have a more comprehensive range of supports than others: one hospital has a teen parenting programme where each teenager receives additional social and emotional support during their pregnancy; this includes financial support for education needs and planning for the baby.

Provisions made for teenage parents:
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If I experienced social issues (homelessness, domestic violence etc.), how would my maternity unit cater for my needs?

Generally, maternity units assess each individual mother's needs and care is tailored to suit the person. Social workers and community supports are available to support mothers experiencing difficult social circumstances.

Provisions made for parents who are experiencing homelessness/other social issues, including domestic violence:
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If I had issues with alcohol or drugs, how would my maternity unit cater for my needs?

Not all hospitals answered this question. Generally, maternity units assess each individual mother's needs and care is tailored to suit the person. Social workers/liaison workers are available to support mothers. Sometimes support is offered from mental health teams.

Provisions made for parents with drug or alcohol abuse:
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I have specific religious or cultural needs. Can my maternity unit cater for my needs?

All maternity units stated that their care for women is individualised and that mothers' cultural and religious needs are respected and catered for. Some units mentioned being able to meet any religious dietary needs, others mentioned religious leaders of various faiths being available/welcome, and others specified that requests for female caregivers are facilitated as far as possible.

How are a mother's cultural or religious needs facilitated?:
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What special support is there for women who have experienced female genital mutilation (FGM)?

Not all hospitals answered this question. Some units mentioned sensitive care, cultural sensitivity or making female staff available for examinations. Others mentioned individual care plans without giving any details. Often, consultant obstetricians provide clinical care to determine what impact the FGM might have on birth and to agree a plan for birth. One unit specified that after birth the woman’s genitals are repaired. As there is no screening for FGM, caregivers do not always know about it until labour starts.

Special support provided to women who have experienced female genital mutilation (FGM):
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