Tag Archives: pregnancy

Women’s voices become temporarily deeper after pregnancy

The voices of new mothers temporarily drop by more than two musical notes after pregnancy, scientists have claimed.

Researchers from the University of Sussex found new mothers’ voices become lower and more monotonous after they have had their first baby.

However, this “vocal masculinising” does not appear permanent, the team said – with voices reverting to previous frequency after one year.

They speculate the change may be an attempt to sound more authoritative in response to the new role of parent, or could be driven by hormones.

Lead researcher Dr Kasia Pisanski, of the University of Sussex’s School of Psychology, said: “Our results show that, despite some singers noticing that their voices get lower while pregnant, the big drop actually happens after they give birth.”

The study examined 20 mothers, including singers, actresses, journalists and celebrities, and compared them to a control group.

Analysis of archive interview footage in the five years before and after pregnancy found women’s mean voice pitch dropped by more than 5% – the equivalent to around 1.3 semitones.

The women’s highest pitch also dropped by an average of 2.2 semitones, or more than two notes, and they had less variation in pitch, the study found.

“Our results demonstrate that pregnancy has a transient and perceptually salient masculinising effect on women’s voices,” the authors said.

Pisanski added: “One possible explanation is that this is caused by hormone changes after childbirth.

“Previous research has shown that women’s voices can change with fertility, with pitch increasing around the time of ovulation each month, and decreasing following menopause.

“We know that after pregnancy, there’s a sharp drop in the levels of key sex hormones, and that this could influence vocal fold dynamics and vocal control.

“This effect could also be behavioural. Research has already shown that people with low-pitched voices are typically judged to be more competent, mature, and dominant, so it could be that women are modulating their own voices to sound more authoritative, faced with the new challenges of parenting.”

Women’s voices become temporarily deeper after pregnancy

The voices of new mothers temporarily drop by more than two musical notes after pregnancy, scientists have claimed.

Researchers from the University of Sussex found new mothers’ voices become lower and more monotonous after they have had their first baby.

However, this “vocal masculinising” does not appear permanent, the team said – with voices reverting to previous frequency after one year.

They speculate the change may be an attempt to sound more authoritative in response to the new role of parent, or could be driven by hormones.

Lead researcher Dr Kasia Pisanski, of the University of Sussex’s School of Psychology, said: “Our results show that, despite some singers noticing that their voices get lower while pregnant, the big drop actually happens after they give birth.”

The study examined 20 mothers, including singers, actresses, journalists and celebrities, and compared them to a control group.

Analysis of archive interview footage in the five years before and after pregnancy found women’s mean voice pitch dropped by more than 5% – the equivalent to around 1.3 semitones.

The women’s highest pitch also dropped by an average of 2.2 semitones, or more than two notes, and they had less variation in pitch, the study found.

“Our results demonstrate that pregnancy has a transient and perceptually salient masculinising effect on women’s voices,” the authors said.

Pisanski added: “One possible explanation is that this is caused by hormone changes after childbirth.

“Previous research has shown that women’s voices can change with fertility, with pitch increasing around the time of ovulation each month, and decreasing following menopause.

“We know that after pregnancy, there’s a sharp drop in the levels of key sex hormones, and that this could influence vocal fold dynamics and vocal control.

“This effect could also be behavioural. Research has already shown that people with low-pitched voices are typically judged to be more competent, mature, and dominant, so it could be that women are modulating their own voices to sound more authoritative, faced with the new challenges of parenting.”

Women’s voices drop by two piano notes after pregnancy

The voices of new mothers temporarily drop by more than one piano note after pregnancy, scientists have claimed.

Researchers from the University of Sussex found new mothers’ voices become lower and more monotonous after they have had their first baby.

However, this “vocal masculinising” does not appear permanent, the team said – with voices reverting to previous frequency after one year.

They speculate the change may be an attempt to sound more authoritative in response to the new role of parent, or could be driven by hormones.

Lead researcher Dr Kasia Pisanski, of the University of Sussex’s School of Psychology, said: “Our results show that, despite some singers noticing that their voices get lower while pregnant, the big drop actually happens after they give birth.”

The study examined 20 mothers, including singers, actresses, journalists and celebrities, and compared them to a control group.

Analysis of archive interview footage in the five years before and after pregnancy found women’s mean voice pitch dropped by more than 5% – the equivalent to around 1.3 semitones.

The women’s highest pitch also dropped by an average of 2.2 semitones, or more than two piano notes, and they had less variation in pitch, the study found.

“Our results demonstrate that pregnancy has a transient and perceptually salient masculinising effect on women’s voices,” the authors said.

Pisanski added: “One possible explanation is that this is caused by hormone changes after childbirth.

“Previous research has shown that women’s voices can change with fertility, with pitch increasing around the time of ovulation each month, and decreasing following menopause.

“We know that after pregnancy, there’s a sharp drop in the levels of key sex hormones, and that this could influence vocal fold dynamics and vocal control.

“This effect could also be behavioural. Research has already shown that people with low-pitched voices are typically judged to be more competent, mature, and dominant, so it could be that women are modulating their own voices to sound more authoritative, faced with the new challenges of parenting.”

Women’s voices drop by two piano notes after pregnancy

The voices of new mothers temporarily drop by more than one piano note after pregnancy, scientists have claimed.

Researchers from the University of Sussex found new mothers’ voices become lower and more monotonous after they have had their first baby.

However, this “vocal masculinising” does not appear permanent, the team said – with voices reverting to previous frequency after one year.

They speculate the change may be an attempt to sound more authoritative in response to the new role of parent, or could be driven by hormones.

Lead researcher Dr Kasia Pisanski, of the University of Sussex’s School of Psychology, said: “Our results show that, despite some singers noticing that their voices get lower while pregnant, the big drop actually happens after they give birth.”

The study examined 20 mothers, including singers, actresses, journalists and celebrities, and compared them to a control group.

Analysis of archive interview footage in the five years before and after pregnancy found women’s mean voice pitch dropped by more than 5% – the equivalent to around 1.3 semitones.

The women’s highest pitch also dropped by an average of 2.2 semitones, or more than two piano notes, and they had less variation in pitch, the study found.

“Our results demonstrate that pregnancy has a transient and perceptually salient masculinising effect on women’s voices,” the authors said.

Pisanski added: “One possible explanation is that this is caused by hormone changes after childbirth.

“Previous research has shown that women’s voices can change with fertility, with pitch increasing around the time of ovulation each month, and decreasing following menopause.

“We know that after pregnancy, there’s a sharp drop in the levels of key sex hormones, and that this could influence vocal fold dynamics and vocal control.

“This effect could also be behavioural. Research has already shown that people with low-pitched voices are typically judged to be more competent, mature, and dominant, so it could be that women are modulating their own voices to sound more authoritative, faced with the new challenges of parenting.”

I had to travel abroad to end my doomed pregnancy. Ireland must change its abortion law | Siobhan Donohue

I’ve never been involved in politics or campaigned for anything. If you’d told me 10 years ago that I would one day be stepping up and speaking in public about liberalising abortion law in Ireland, I would have called you crazy. But all that changed on a warm autumn day in 2011.

I was 20 weeks into my third pregnancy, and a little bit chuffed with myself. As an older mum (I was 35 when my first child was born), I was delighted to be on track to complete my three-child family shortly after turning 40, and that day I was looking forward to getting a first proper glimpse of my baby at the anomaly scan. But shortly after the sonographer started the scan, she went very quiet. Then she said: “I’m a little concerned – I can’t see the top of the baby’s head.”

I’m a GP, so my medical brain took over as I tried to work out what she meant. It took a second but then the penny dropped. “Do you mean like anencephaly?” I heard myself say. “Oh, you’ve heard of it,” she said, with obvious relief. Relief that she didn’t need to explain that the top half of my baby’s head had never formed, that there was nothing above his eye level – no brain, no scalp, no skull, and that my baby would not survive outside the womb for long, if at all. In that moment my world was turned upside down. The future as I had planned it was gone. Wiped out in an instant. My husband hadn’t been able to attend the scan with me that day, so the consultant suggested we return to see him together to discuss what would happen next. Our options were to continue with the pregnancy and carry the baby to term, or travel abroad for a termination. I made my way across Dublin with my sister, who had been with me for the scan. The news was starting to sink in, and I realised I would have to let people know. My mother was texting to know how it had gone but I couldn’t answer her. I needed to let my husband know, but I couldn’t speak on the phone to him. I’d fill him in later, face to face.

We stumbled through that weekend trying to get used to our new reality. But I very quickly realised how difficult daily life was going to be, carrying this news around with me. I could foresee the same conversations happening everywhere I went, the questions that every pregnant person has about due dates and whether or not you know what you’re having.

Quick guide

The Irish abortion referendum

The Irish abortion referendum

Ireland is set to vote on abortion law reform on Friday 25 May. In a the referendum, voters will decide if they want to repeal an article in the republic’s constitution known as the eighth amendment. 

The amendment, or article 40.3.3 of the constitution, gives unborn foetuses and pregnant mothers an equal right to life – and is, in effect, a ban on abortion. Currently, terminations are allowed only when the life of the mother is at risk, with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison for breaking the law. 

The government in Dublin has promised to introduce legislation allowing for abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy if the vote goes in favour of repeal.

Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/X03756

What would I tell people? Would I play along and pretend everything was normal, or would I tell them we’d be having a funeral instead of a christening? How would I continue to work as a doctor after a conversation like that with every patient who noticed I was pregnant? The distress, the torture of retelling the awful truth or denying it completely: I’d be in bits. Day-to-day living would be intolerable. Faced with this reality, we decided to travel out of Ireland. We booked flights and accommodation, arranged childcare and took the lonely early-morning departure to Liverpool surrounded by businessmen and hen parties. It was surreal to be going through the greatest tragedy of our lives hidden in plain sight, hoping no one would ask us where we were going or why.

Liverpool was a place I’d never been to. I had a picture in my head of a grey, industrial city, but Liverpool was the beacon of light in this story – a warm and vibrant place that took care of us. We went straight from the airport to Liverpool Women’s Hospital, where we were wrapped in a blanket of care and compassion. Everyone we met said they were so sorry we had to be there. They confirmed the diagnosis, talked us through what would happen over the following days, and then sat with us to discuss what we would like to do with our baby’s remains afterwards.

I was given the first dose of medication and we then had 48 hours before we had to return to the hospital. We checked into our hotel and wandered around the old docks, dining out and shopping. I’d read it was a good idea to bring a hat for a baby with anencephaly so we bought one to cover my baby’s head. To the outside world, we must have looked like tourists enjoying the Indian summer weather, but we carried our dark secret in our hearts.

We returned to the hospital on the Saturday, where I was admitted for a compassionate induction of labour, and late that night our little mite was delivered silent and still. We held him and named him TJ and, though we mourned the death of our son, there was a moment of peace as we sat there holding him. The cause of his death was clearly visible: we could see remnants of brain tissue and we knew we had made the right decision.

And then we had to leave him behind and return home to our family; to pick up the pieces of our lives and move on. About three weeks later, a courier arrived at my front door with a Jiffy bag containing the cremated remains of my child. That’s how my baby came home to me.

Time moved on and we began to heal. Good things happened in our lives again – we went on to have another baby. We are a happy family and we talk openly with our children about their brother TJ.

But I feel scarred by a constitutional amendment that says I should be punished because I could not continue with my crisis pregnancy. It doesn’t need to be this hard for people. Travelling abroad for a termination doesn’t make you think any harder about your decision, it just traumatises you and diverts your energies away from what you should be focusing on: the death of your baby.

On Friday 25 May, the people of Ireland will decide whether or not to remove from our constitution the amendment that means there is a near-total ban on abortion in the country. Introduced in 1983, the eighth amendment gives the unborn foetus the same protection as the life of the mother and makes legislating for abortion in cases like mine impossible.

I know that for many voters this is a deeply difficult topic to think about, and something that they have not wanted to discuss openly. For many others, it is personal because they have been directly affected by its consequences, and I am one of the latter.

I wish TJ could have been delivered in Ireland. I wish his brother and sister and grandparents had met him. I wish my mum had been there to give me a hug. But mostly I wish that no other family has to endure what we went through.

We can help achieve that wish by voting yes to the repeal of the eighth amendment to the constitution. It is time we in Ireland brought compassion home.

Siobhan Donohue is a GP based in Dublin

I had to travel abroad to end my doomed pregnancy. Ireland must change its abortion law | Siobhan Donohue

I’ve never been involved in politics or campaigned for anything. If you’d told me 10 years ago that I would one day be stepping up and speaking in public about liberalising abortion law in Ireland, I would have called you crazy. But all that changed on a warm autumn day in 2011.

I was 20 weeks into my third pregnancy, and a little bit chuffed with myself. As an older mum (I was 35 when my first child was born), I was delighted to be on track to complete my three-child family shortly after turning 40, and that day I was looking forward to getting a first proper glimpse of my baby at the anomaly scan. But shortly after the sonographer started the scan, she went very quiet. Then she said: “I’m a little concerned – I can’t see the top of the baby’s head.”

I’m a GP, so my medical brain took over as I tried to work out what she meant. It took a second but then the penny dropped. “Do you mean like anencephaly?” I heard myself say. “Oh, you’ve heard of it,” she said, with obvious relief. Relief that she didn’t need to explain that the top half of my baby’s head had never formed, that there was nothing above his eye level – no brain, no scalp, no skull, and that my baby would not survive outside the womb for long, if at all. In that moment my world was turned upside down. The future as I had planned it was gone. Wiped out in an instant. My husband hadn’t been able to attend the scan with me that day, so the consultant suggested we return to see him together to discuss what would happen next. Our options were to continue with the pregnancy and carry the baby to term, or travel abroad for a termination. I made my way across Dublin with my sister, who had been with me for the scan. The news was starting to sink in, and I realised I would have to let people know. My mother was texting to know how it had gone but I couldn’t answer her. I needed to let my husband know, but I couldn’t speak on the phone to him. I’d fill him in later, face to face.

We stumbled through that weekend trying to get used to our new reality. But I very quickly realised how difficult daily life was going to be, carrying this news around with me. I could foresee the same conversations happening everywhere I went, the questions that every pregnant person has about due dates and whether or not you know what you’re having.

Quick guide

The Irish abortion referendum

The Irish abortion referendum

Ireland is set to vote on abortion law reform on Friday 25 May. In a the referendum, voters will decide if they want to repeal an article in the republic’s constitution known as the eighth amendment. 

The amendment, or article 40.3.3 of the constitution, gives unborn foetuses and pregnant mothers an equal right to life – and is, in effect, a ban on abortion. Currently, terminations are allowed only when the life of the mother is at risk, with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison for breaking the law. 

The government in Dublin has promised to introduce legislation allowing for abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy if the vote goes in favour of repeal.

Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/X03756

What would I tell people? Would I play along and pretend everything was normal, or would I tell them we’d be having a funeral instead of a christening? How would I continue to work as a doctor after a conversation like that with every patient who noticed I was pregnant? The distress, the torture of retelling the awful truth or denying it completely: I’d be in bits. Day-to-day living would be intolerable. Faced with this reality, we decided to travel out of Ireland. We booked flights and accommodation, arranged childcare and took the lonely early-morning departure to Liverpool surrounded by businessmen and hen parties. It was surreal to be going through the greatest tragedy of our lives hidden in plain sight, hoping no one would ask us where we were going or why.

Liverpool was a place I’d never been to. I had a picture in my head of a grey, industrial city, but Liverpool was the beacon of light in this story – a warm and vibrant place that took care of us. We went straight from the airport to Liverpool Women’s Hospital, where we were wrapped in a blanket of care and compassion. Everyone we met said they were so sorry we had to be there. They confirmed the diagnosis, talked us through what would happen over the following days, and then sat with us to discuss what we would like to do with our baby’s remains afterwards.

I was given the first dose of medication and we then had 48 hours before we had to return to the hospital. We checked into our hotel and wandered around the old docks, dining out and shopping. I’d read it was a good idea to bring a hat for a baby with anencephaly so we bought one to cover my baby’s head. To the outside world, we must have looked like tourists enjoying the Indian summer weather, but we carried our dark secret in our hearts.

We returned to the hospital on the Saturday, where I was admitted for a compassionate induction of labour, and late that night our little mite was delivered silent and still. We held him and named him TJ and, though we mourned the death of our son, there was a moment of peace as we sat there holding him. The cause of his death was clearly visible: we could see remnants of brain tissue and we knew we had made the right decision.

And then we had to leave him behind and return home to our family; to pick up the pieces of our lives and move on. About three weeks later, a courier arrived at my front door with a Jiffy bag containing the cremated remains of my child. That’s how my baby came home to me.

Time moved on and we began to heal. Good things happened in our lives again – we went on to have another baby. We are a happy family and we talk openly with our children about their brother TJ.

But I feel scarred by a constitutional amendment that says I should be punished because I could not continue with my crisis pregnancy. It doesn’t need to be this hard for people. Travelling abroad for a termination doesn’t make you think any harder about your decision, it just traumatises you and diverts your energies away from what you should be focusing on: the death of your baby.

On Friday 25 May, the people of Ireland will decide whether or not to remove from our constitution the amendment that means there is a near-total ban on abortion in the country. Introduced in 1983, the eighth amendment gives the unborn foetus the same protection as the life of the mother and makes legislating for abortion in cases like mine impossible.

I know that for many voters this is a deeply difficult topic to think about, and something that they have not wanted to discuss openly. For many others, it is personal because they have been directly affected by its consequences, and I am one of the latter.

I wish TJ could have been delivered in Ireland. I wish his brother and sister and grandparents had met him. I wish my mum had been there to give me a hug. But mostly I wish that no other family has to endure what we went through.

We can help achieve that wish by voting yes to the repeal of the eighth amendment to the constitution. It is time we in Ireland brought compassion home.

Siobhan Donohue is a GP based in Dublin

I had to travel abroad to end my doomed pregnancy. Ireland must change its abortion law | Siobhan Donohue

I’ve never been involved in politics or campaigned for anything. If you’d told me 10 years ago that I would one day be stepping up and speaking in public about liberalising abortion law in Ireland, I would have called you crazy. But all that changed on a warm autumn day in 2011.

I was 20 weeks into my third pregnancy, and a little bit chuffed with myself. As an older mum (I was 35 when my first child was born), I was delighted to be on track to complete my three-child family shortly after turning 40, and that day I was looking forward to getting a first proper glimpse of my baby at the anomaly scan. But shortly after the sonographer started the scan, she went very quiet. Then she said: “I’m a little concerned – I can’t see the top of the baby’s head.”

I’m a GP, so my medical brain took over as I tried to work out what she meant. It took a second but then the penny dropped. “Do you mean like anencephaly?” I heard myself say. “Oh, you’ve heard of it,” she said, with obvious relief. Relief that she didn’t need to explain that the top half of my baby’s head had never formed, that there was nothing above his eye level – no brain, no scalp, no skull, and that my baby would not survive outside the womb for long, if at all. In that moment my world was turned upside down. The future as I had planned it was gone. Wiped out in an instant. My husband hadn’t been able to attend the scan with me that day, so the consultant suggested we return to see him together to discuss what would happen next. Our options were to continue with the pregnancy and carry the baby to term, or travel abroad for a termination. I made my way across Dublin with my sister, who had been with me for the scan. The news was starting to sink in, and I realised I would have to let people know. My mother was texting to know how it had gone but I couldn’t answer her. I needed to let my husband know, but I couldn’t speak on the phone to him. I’d fill him in later, face to face.

We stumbled through that weekend trying to get used to our new reality. But I very quickly realised how difficult daily life was going to be, carrying this news around with me. I could foresee the same conversations happening everywhere I went, the questions that every pregnant person has about due dates and whether or not you know what you’re having.

Quick guide

The Irish abortion referendum

The Irish abortion referendum

Ireland is set to vote on abortion law reform on Friday 25 May. In a the referendum, voters will decide if they want to repeal an article in the republic’s constitution known as the eighth amendment. 

The amendment, or article 40.3.3 of the constitution, gives unborn foetuses and pregnant mothers an equal right to life – and is, in effect, a ban on abortion. Currently, terminations are allowed only when the life of the mother is at risk, with a penalty of up to 14 years in prison for breaking the law. 

The government in Dublin has promised to introduce legislation allowing for abortions during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy if the vote goes in favour of repeal.

Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/X03756

What would I tell people? Would I play along and pretend everything was normal, or would I tell them we’d be having a funeral instead of a christening? How would I continue to work as a doctor after a conversation like that with every patient who noticed I was pregnant? The distress, the torture of retelling the awful truth or denying it completely: I’d be in bits. Day-to-day living would be intolerable. Faced with this reality, we decided to travel out of Ireland. We booked flights and accommodation, arranged childcare and took the lonely early-morning departure to Liverpool surrounded by businessmen and hen parties. It was surreal to be going through the greatest tragedy of our lives hidden in plain sight, hoping no one would ask us where we were going or why.

Liverpool was a place I’d never been to. I had a picture in my head of a grey, industrial city, but Liverpool was the beacon of light in this story – a warm and vibrant place that took care of us. We went straight from the airport to Liverpool Women’s Hospital, where we were wrapped in a blanket of care and compassion. Everyone we met said they were so sorry we had to be there. They confirmed the diagnosis, talked us through what would happen over the following days, and then sat with us to discuss what we would like to do with our baby’s remains afterwards.

I was given the first dose of medication and we then had 48 hours before we had to return to the hospital. We checked into our hotel and wandered around the old docks, dining out and shopping. I’d read it was a good idea to bring a hat for a baby with anencephaly so we bought one to cover my baby’s head. To the outside world, we must have looked like tourists enjoying the Indian summer weather, but we carried our dark secret in our hearts.

We returned to the hospital on the Saturday, where I was admitted for a compassionate induction of labour, and late that night our little mite was delivered silent and still. We held him and named him TJ and, though we mourned the death of our son, there was a moment of peace as we sat there holding him. The cause of his death was clearly visible: we could see remnants of brain tissue and we knew we had made the right decision.

And then we had to leave him behind and return home to our family; to pick up the pieces of our lives and move on. About three weeks later, a courier arrived at my front door with a Jiffy bag containing the cremated remains of my child. That’s how my baby came home to me.

Time moved on and we began to heal. Good things happened in our lives again – we went on to have another baby. We are a happy family and we talk openly with our children about their brother TJ.

But I feel scarred by a constitutional amendment that says I should be punished because I could not continue with my crisis pregnancy. It doesn’t need to be this hard for people. Travelling abroad for a termination doesn’t make you think any harder about your decision, it just traumatises you and diverts your energies away from what you should be focusing on: the death of your baby.

On Friday 25 May, the people of Ireland will decide whether or not to remove from our constitution the amendment that means there is a near-total ban on abortion in the country. Introduced in 1983, the eighth amendment gives the unborn foetus the same protection as the life of the mother and makes legislating for abortion in cases like mine impossible.

I know that for many voters this is a deeply difficult topic to think about, and something that they have not wanted to discuss openly. For many others, it is personal because they have been directly affected by its consequences, and I am one of the latter.

I wish TJ could have been delivered in Ireland. I wish his brother and sister and grandparents had met him. I wish my mum had been there to give me a hug. But mostly I wish that no other family has to endure what we went through.

We can help achieve that wish by voting yes to the repeal of the eighth amendment to the constitution. It is time we in Ireland brought compassion home.

Siobhan Donohue is a GP based in Dublin

Hunt to unveil plan for women to have same midwives through pregnancy

Jeremy Hunt is setting out plans for expectant mothers to be cared for by the same midwives throughout their pregnancy in a bid to reduce miscarriages and stillbirths.

The health and social care secretary will announce plans to train 3,000 extra midwives and maternity support staff over four years.

His action, due to be announced in a speech on Tuesday, comes after the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) warned of chronic shortages in maternity services.

Hunt is expected to say: “There are few moments in life that matter more than the birth of a child, so the next step in my mission to transform safety standards is a drive to give mums dedicated midwives, who can get to know them personally and oversee their whole journey from pregnancy to labour to new parent.”

The changes to maternity services in England will start with a target of one in five women benefiting from the “continuity of carer” model by March 2019.

By 2021, the aim is that the majority of women will receive care from the same midwives throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth.

The government said research suggested women who used the model were 19% less likely to miscarry, and 24% less likely to give birth prematurely.

Hunt will say: “The statistics are clear that having a dedicated team of midwives who know you and understand your story can transform results for mothers and babies – reducing stillbirths, miscarriages and neonatal deaths, and the agony that comes with these tragedies.

“This profound change will be backed up by the largest ever investment in midwifery training, with a 25% expansion in the number of training places, as well as an incredibly well-deserved pay rise for current midwives.”

Other measures include a more formal definition for maternity support workers, whose roles and job titles currently vary widely and do not adhere to set standards.

The government will also work with organisations including the RCM to develop new training routes into midwifery.

The announcements come after years of NHS pay restraint were ended with a rise of between 6.5% and 29% over three years, which could help make the profession more attractive.

A newly qualified band-five midwife will start on a salary of £24,907 by 2020-21 – a 12.6% rise from the current starting salary.

About 650 more midwives will enter training next year, with planned increases of 1,000 in subsequent years.

The RCM chief executive and general secretary, Gill Walton, said: “This is a very long overdue acknowledgement by the government that England’s maternity services need more midwives.

“The RCM has been campaigning to get successive governments to eradicate the midwife shortage for well over a decade. This is recognition that this government have been listening to us.”

But she added: “Whilst we welcome the commitment to continuity of care, it is ambitious. The additional midwives who start training next year won’t be qualified midwives working in our maternity services until 2022.

“That will make a difference and it will begin to have an impact on the workload of midwives, but it will not transform maternity services right now. It will take seven or eight years before all of the new midwives announced today will be actually working in our maternity services.”

Hunt to unveil plan for women to have same midwives through pregnancy

Jeremy Hunt is setting out plans for expectant mothers to be cared for by the same midwives throughout their pregnancy in a bid to reduce miscarriages and stillbirths.

The health and social care secretary will announce plans to train 3,000 extra midwives and maternity support staff over four years.

His action, due to be announced in a speech on Tuesday, comes after the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) warned of “chronic shortages in maternity services”.

Hunt is expected to say: “There are few moments in life that matter more than the birth of a child, so the next step in my mission to transform safety standards is a drive to give mums dedicated midwives, who can get to know them personally and oversee their whole journey from pregnancy to labour to new parent.”

The changes to maternity services in England will start with a target of one in five women benefiting from the “continuity of carer” model by March 2019.

By 2021, the aim is that the majority of women will receive care from the same midwives throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth.

The government said research suggested that women who used the model were 19% less likely to miscarry, and 24% less likely to give birth prematurely.

Hunt will say: “The statistics are clear that having a dedicated team of midwives who know you and understand your story can transform results for mothers and babies – reducing stillbirths, miscarriages and neonatal deaths, and the agony that comes with these tragedies.

“This profound change will be backed up by the largest ever investment in midwifery training, with a 25% expansion in the number of training places, as well as an incredibly well-deserved pay rise for current midwives.”

Other measures include a more formal definition for maternity support workers, whose roles and job titles currently vary widely and do not adhere to set standards.

The government will also work with organisations including the RCM to develop new training routes into midwifery.

The announcements come after years of NHS pay restraint were ended with a rise of between 6.5% and 29% over three years, which could help make the profession more attractive.

A newly qualified band-five midwife will start on a salary of £24,907 by 2020-21 – a 12.6% rise from the current starting salary.

Around 650 more midwives will enter training next year, with planned increases of 1,000 in subsequent years.

The RCM chief executive and general secretary, Gill Walton, said: “This is a very long overdue acknowledgement by the government that England’s maternity services need more midwives.

“The RCM has been campaigning to get successive governments to eradicate the midwife shortage for well over a decade. This is recognition that this government have been listening to us.”

But she added: “Whilst we welcome the commitment to continuity of care, it is ambitious. The additional midwives who start training next year won’t be qualified midwives working in our maternity services until 2022.

“That will make a difference and it will begin to have an impact on the workload of midwives, but it will not transform maternity services right now. It will take seven or eight years before all of the new midwives announced today will be actually working in our maternity services.”

Hunt to unveil plan for women to have same midwives through pregnancy

Jeremy Hunt is setting out plans for expectant mothers to be cared for by the same midwives throughout their pregnancy in a bid to reduce miscarriages and stillbirths.

The health and social care secretary will announce plans to train 3,000 extra midwives and maternity support staff over four years.

His action, due to be announced in a speech on Tuesday, comes after the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) warned of “chronic shortages in maternity services”.

Hunt is expected to say: “There are few moments in life that matter more than the birth of a child, so the next step in my mission to transform safety standards is a drive to give mums dedicated midwives, who can get to know them personally and oversee their whole journey from pregnancy to labour to new parent.”

The changes to maternity services in England will start with a target of one in five women benefiting from the “continuity of carer” model by March 2019.

By 2021, the aim is that the majority of women will receive care from the same midwives throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth.

The government said research suggested that women who used the model were 19% less likely to miscarry, and 24% less likely to give birth prematurely.

Hunt will say: “The statistics are clear that having a dedicated team of midwives who know you and understand your story can transform results for mothers and babies – reducing stillbirths, miscarriages and neonatal deaths, and the agony that comes with these tragedies.

“This profound change will be backed up by the largest ever investment in midwifery training, with a 25% expansion in the number of training places, as well as an incredibly well-deserved pay rise for current midwives.”

Other measures include a more formal definition for maternity support workers, whose roles and job titles currently vary widely and do not adhere to set standards.

The government will also work with organisations including the RCM to develop new training routes into midwifery.

The announcements come after years of NHS pay restraint were ended with a rise of between 6.5% and 29% over three years, which could help make the profession more attractive.

A newly qualified band-five midwife will start on a salary of £24,907 by 2020-21 – a 12.6% rise from the current starting salary.

Around 650 more midwives will enter training next year, with planned increases of 1,000 in subsequent years.

The RCM chief executive and general secretary, Gill Walton, said: “This is a very long overdue acknowledgement by the government that England’s maternity services need more midwives.

“The RCM has been campaigning to get successive governments to eradicate the midwife shortage for well over a decade. This is recognition that this government have been listening to us.”

But she added: “Whilst we welcome the commitment to continuity of care, it is ambitious. The additional midwives who start training next year won’t be qualified midwives working in our maternity services until 2022.

“That will make a difference and it will begin to have an impact on the workload of midwives, but it will not transform maternity services right now. It will take seven or eight years before all of the new midwives announced today will be actually working in our maternity services.”