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‘Bump, Baby and Beyond’: Participant-led antenatal sessions using creative collaboration

02 September 2016
12 min read
Volume 24 · Issue 9


This article describes a project that was set up to offer user participation in the development of a group for pregnant women and new mothers in an area of the UK where attendance at NHS antenatal classes and other groups was low. Responsibility for the implementation of the project was shared between a midwife, a health visitor and a children's centre manager who successfully applied for an NHS Patients First programme bursary from the Foundation of Nursing Studies. In the first 6 months of the project, women sampled crafts, music, ‘pampering’ and hypnobirthing, and worked with facilitators to design a rolling programme of activities of their choice. The aims of the project included building confidence for labour and motherhood, and making connections with a supportive local network of fellow mothers and children's centre staff.

The publication of the Francis report (Francis, 2013) led to a recommendation for greater emphasis on interventions to support frontline clinical teams to perform effectively. The Patients First programme is one such intervention. The Foundation of Nursing Studies operates UK-wide and across all health-care settings, dedicated to working with nurses and health-care teams to develop and share innovative ways of improving practice. This enables staff to provide care that is high-quality and evidence-based, and meets the needs of service users.

A survey of nearly 1400 mothers, conducted by parenting website Netmums in collaboration with the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) (2011), found evidence of a social divide developing in UK maternity services. Women with a lower income are getting a poor deal from maternity services during pregnancy and postnatally, with those in poverty left feeling unsupported, and over a quarter feeling anxious or depressed during their pregnancy. Almost three quarters did not attend antenatal classes (nearly half were not offered them) and felt unprepared for—and unsupported during—labour and childbirth.

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