The aim is to deliver a more personalised service to new mothers and their families, with each pregnant mum getting her own dedicated midwifery team and the reassurance of a midwife she knows present at the birth.
Initially, six new ‘continuity of care’ teams have been created across Ipswich, West Suffolk and Colchester hospitals, providing antenatal, birth and post-natal care and offering new mothers an unparalleled level of support.
Latest figures from March 2019 show around 400 women benefiting from the care provided by these teams during their pregnancy. That figure is set to increase as the service develops over time and receives input from service users and staff.
Embracing regular contact will help midwives to better ensure the good physical and mental wellbeing of mothers and babies, including encouraging greater levels of breastfeeding, reducing the prevalence of smoking, helping prevent diabetes and supporting good mental health.
The development of a trusting relationship between health professionals and pregnant women will help support healthy births. The ambition of introducing this new way of caring for women is to see a 20% reduction in stillbirths, neonatal and maternal deaths and brain injuries by 2020 and a 50% reduction by 2050.
The launch event will take place on Tuesday June 4 at Hadleigh Town Hall, Market Place, Hadleigh IP7 5DN from 2 – 4 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.
The event will be attended by midwives from the local continuity of care teams who will be on hand to discuss how the programme will be implemented.
Speakers will include Nick Hulme, Chief Executive of East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, and new mothers who have used maternity services in Suffolk and north east Essex will also be present to discuss their experiences.
The introduction of the Better Births programme forms part of the National Maternity Review that aims to deliver maternity outcomes across the country. National evidence shows that women who receive continuity of care through their pregnancy are:
- 16% less likely to suffer pregnancy loss and 19% less likely to lose their baby before 24 weeks
- 24% less likely to experience pre-term birth
- 15% less likely to require regional analgesia
- 16% less likely to have an episiotomy
Lisa Nobes, Chief Nurse, NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, said: "I very much welcome the launch of Better Births as it represents a significant step forward in how we deliver maternity services.
"By instigating a more personal approach to maternity services we can offer better support to new mothers so they can best enjoy this very special time of life as well as giving their baby the best start and opportunity to live a long and healthy life."
Lisa Llewelyn, Director of Nursing and Clinical Quality at NHS North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "This is a fantastic initiative that is really promising. Anything we can offer to expecting mothers to improve the quality of care they receive is a great achievement - we hope to really improve the physical and mental wellbeing of mothers and babies and greatly reduce any negative outcomes."
Lynne Saunders, Head of Midwifery at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Working closer with our partners in healthcare to ensure an even more personalised and supported maternity care and birth for every new family in our area is an important development.
“We want every family to have a positive maternity experience, and ensuring a consistent community and acute midwifery team are available who can get to know parents personally, answer their questions, and offer them useful information will help to support a healthy pregnancy, birth, and enhanced postnatal care.”