Support for mothers and babies needs overhaul, says UK health minister

guardian.co.uk Thursday 12th September 2013

Britain needs to undergo a major overhaul of the provision of support for babies and mothers, a health minister has said.

Dr Dan Poulter, who also works as an obstetrician, said there needed to be a move away from an approach that “picks up the pieces” of broken families to a preventive approach from the earliest days of pregnancy to avoid mental and physical problems later in life.

He also called for a change in the work of midwives and health visitors as he endorsed a cross-party manifesto demanding a renewed focus on support from the moment of conception to a child’s second birthday. This is a period of 1,001 days.

The manifesto – The 1,001 Critical Days, which is to be launched on Thursday – calls for a greater focus on the mental needs of mothers after evidence showed that the earliest emotional experiences of a baby will have a major impact on the development of its brain.

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