Disparities in the provision of the maternal postpartum 6-week check
In February 2020, it was announced that a standardised maternal postpartum check for women at 6-8 weeks after giving birth would be included as an essential service in the General Practitioner (GP) contract, supported by £12 million additional funding. This is a change of direction after a series of policy decisions that have seen the GPs' role in maternity care in England diminish over the past twenty years.
Using primary care records (Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)) for more than 34 thousand women in England, 2015-2018, they found that 89% of women had had a face-to-face consultation with a GP in the 12 weeks after they gave birth and 62% of women had a consultation that could be clearly defined as a six week postnatal check.
Younger women, women who experienced a preterm birth, or who were served by practices in more deprived areas were more likely to have a late or no six week postnatal check, suggesting that postnatal care in general practice may have missed the women who needed it most.