By Phoebe Cooke
The practice of sales reps targeting new mothers just hours after giving birth came under intense scrutiny today, after a new survey revealed the extent of commercial interference in maternity wards.
The survey, conducted by Mumsnet, showed an alarming lack of privacy given to new mothers by sales reps, keen to pressure them into buying products.
"There is a time and a place for direct sales, and it’s not on postnatal wards, hours after women have given birth," Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts said.
The survey suggests considerable discomfort about the activities of Bounty, a company which uses hospital visits to build customer relationships.
The poll showed 56% of women felt that their privacy was invaded by the company's sales reps, whilst 82% did not think hospitals should allow sales reps access to wards at all.
Worryingly, Mumsnet user complaints include 17% getting the impression from overzealous salespeople that the parents will only be able to claim for child benefit if they fill in Bounty's commercial forms.
Nearly a third (29%) of new mums reported being pressured by Bounty photographers to have a picture of their baby taken, often only hours after giving birth, undergoing surgery or having a general anaesthetic.
Despite the zealousness of the Bounty sales reps, 53% of the new mothers surveyed also felt that the packs provided by the pregnancy company contained little information of worth.