Deaf Nest report
Student midwife Paulina Sporek discusses the first report into Deaf and hard of hearing people's experience of maternity care.
The report produced by the Deaf Nest Project highlights the contribution midwives can make to achieving quality maternity services for Deaf women and their families. It focuses on the barriers Deaf parents experience when accessing maternity services and how midwives, managers, members of the maternity team, educationalists, commissioners and service users can work together to provide the best possible care for these women and their families.
In June 2013, the Deaf Nest Project in partnership with the Deaf Health Champions and the Manchester Deaf Centre set up a consultation group for Deaf parents to make sure their voice is heard. This involved listening to Deaf parents’ experience of pregnancy and childbirth and involving them to bring about change. The author of the report met with two national charities—the Sign Health and the Deaf Health Champions. While both of these organisations are working towards improving access to health care, there is lack of information and services specific to pregnancy and childbirth. We discovered that Deaf parents have been left frightened by limited information, no communication provision and a general lack of understanding about the culture of Deaf people. Deaf women received less information regarding parenting issues and had less social interaction with other mothers. It was difficult for mothers to access hospital or a midwife for help unless a mobile number was given. Other issues included fear and anxiety of being judged by health professionals regarding caring for a baby.
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