Gender row: Royal College of Midwives forced into apology for calling Mums 'postnatal people' and 'erasing' women

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Max Parry

By Max Parry

Published: 03/12/2021

- 14:36

RCM apologise for 'safer sleep' advice to new mothers that fails to mention women, only people

The Royal College of Midwives have caused a stir after calling mothers “postnatal people” in newly published advice, prior to issuing an apology a few hours later for “erasing” women.

The RCM published “safer sleep” advice for people sharing the same bed as their newborn children.

But, the safe sleep guidance, made no reference to “women” or “mothers”. The advice did however refer to “postnatal people”.

The advice generated a social media storm; the morning following its publication, it had been taken down from the RCM website.

The advice explained the central areas healthcare professionals should talk through with new families during pregnancy and after a child's birth.

Referencing sleeping advice, it said: 'Postnatal people in hospital should have easy access to the call bell system, be shown how to use it and ensure it is working – they should be provided with a bed-side cot for the baby to use while in hospital.'

Gill Walton, chief executive of the RCM, is a member of the controversial Stonewall Diversity Champion programme.

The programme set out to assist companies “become more inclusive of LGBT people”.

RCM released a statement in which they apologised for leaving women out of the advice.

They said: “We would like to apologise that women are not mentioned in our recent safer sleeping guidance.

“This was a huge oversight on our part, especially as we are committed as an organisation to ensure that women are never erased from the narrative around pregnancy [and] birth. We have taken it down from our website while we revise and correct this omission.”

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