June 9th, 2021

Liberals should reverse cuts to prenatal care as maternal mental health concerns increase

Halifax -- With the need for maternal mental health supports more than doubling since the start of the pandemic, the Liberal government needs to reverse cuts to prenatal care.

At yesterday’s Health Committee, Dr. Annette Elliott Rose from the IWK reported that there was a 156 per cent increase in people accessing maternal mental health services during the pandemic.

“The need for mental health care is clear, especially for new parents who have felt especially isolated during the pandemic,” said NDP Health and Wellness spokesperson Susan Leblanc. “Cuts to services like prenatal classes leave many parents without the connections to health experts or a community of peers they can lean on for support.”

In 2019, the Liberal government cancelled the remaining prenatal classes it offered online four years after phasing out in-person classes for new parents. As a result of these cuts, Nova Scotia is the only Atlantic province without a universal prenatal program.

“The last 15 months have been very hard on families, especially those who have young children at home,” said NDP MLA Kendra Coombes. “When the Liberals cut programs like prenatal classes, the need for support doesn’t go away. Instead we end up seeing it in other places in our health care system.”

The Liberals’ spring budget plans for $209 million in cuts next year.