Almost half of new mothers (47%) confirmed that they had not been given advice within 24 hours of giving birth on spotting the symptoms of potentially life-threatening conditions for them and their babies, according to a survey published by Netmums.

Despite guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) stating that all new mums should receive information within 24 hours of giving birth, only 24% of those surveyed said they could remember receiving any such advice.

Furthermore, midwives have told the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) that they were not satisfied with the level of care that they are able to offer new mums and their babies, with more than a third (36%) stating that they would like to be able to do more for mothers and babies. Sixty-five per cent of midwives said the reason for this was not because of the mother’s needs, but because of the hospital’s organisational pressures.

These statistics form part of a second report by the RCM as part of its Pressure Points campaign, which assesses whether maternity staff have sufficient time to provide adequate postnatal care and advice to mothers.

RCM chief executive, Cathy Warwick, said: “It is clear that our members are taking the strain of an underfunded and under-resourced postnatal service.

“Midwives want to give better postnatal care, but they can’t because there aren’t enough midwives and they don’t have the resources they need to give women the care they need and deserve.”

Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, commented: “The results of this survey are deeply concerning and it is vital that new mothers have information that could potentially save their, or their new born baby’s, life as early as possible.

“It is extremely frustrating for midwives that they are not able to dedicate the time they want to with new mums, offering them advice on symptoms to look out for, as well as more general advice on being a mum.

“It is not fair that, in some cases, midwives cannot perform their job properly because of the government’s failure to address this problem in terms of funding and also ensuring that sufficient midwives are recruited.”