Saving babies' lives in a pandemic

02 November 2020
4 min read
Volume 28 · Issue 11

Abstract

The Mums And Midwives Awareness Academy is empowering parents to overcome their fear of attending their maternity unit

With various different restrictions in place throughout the country, which are changing on a weekly basis, confusion as to what is and what is not safe during the COVID-19 pandemic is having an impact on expectant parents nationwide. Parents are more reluctant than ever to visit their midwife, GP centre or hospital to be assessed in fear of contracting coronavirus (Best Beginnings et al, 2020). With fewer appointments and less contact with a healthcare professional, opportunities to detect certain complications in a timely manner are sadly being missed (Best Beginnings et al, 2020).

To empower parents with safer pregnancy information, such as what signs and symptoms they need to look out for and report to their maternity team without delay, the Mums And Midwives Awareness (MAMA) Academy, produce ‘Wellbeing Wallets’, which are currently being distributed in two thirds of NHS Trusts across the country, as part of the government's strategy to reduce stillbirth by 50% by 2025 (NHS England, 2019). NHS England have been encouraging every trust to implement the wallets for the past 3 years, for consistency of care (Kings Health Partners, 2017). The wallets give parents permission to contact their maternity team straight away if they notice certain symptoms, such as a reduction in baby movement or signs of pre-eclampsia. An audit conducted within the Maternity Day Assessment Units of St.George's and Lewisham and Greenwich hospitals found that over 70% of women regularly read the wallets (Kings Health Partners, 2017). A total of 14% reported that their attendance at the day assessment unit was prompted by the Wellbeing Wallet; with reasons mainly being reduced fetal movements, but also included warning signs of other significant health conditions, including pre-eclampsia. Women did not report any anxiety caused, and over 80% of women felt the information on the wallet was clear, even though 40% of them spoke English as a second language. All the staff felt there were no unnecessary attendances.

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