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Bluebell team Midwives

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust has introduced two new ‘Continuity of Carer’ teams, to deliver a more personalised service to new mums and their families, with each pregnant mum to receive her own dedicated midwifery team and the reassurance of a midwife she knows present at the birth.

Continuity of carer is care provided throughout a woman’s pregnancy, birth and the early parenting period from one midwife or a small team of midwives.

The Trust has created the new midwifery continuity of carer teams – one named the Bluebell team – for the Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven area, providing antenatal, birth and postnatal care and offering new mothers a consistent and unparalleled level of support.  A second team – the Poppy team – will provide care for women with specific health related or care needs and has also launched this week.

The new teams have been introduced in response to the recommendations from the National Better Births Review (2016), which aims to improve outcomes of maternity services in England.

The continuity of carer model has been shown to offer major benefits for mothers and babies including significant reduction in miscarriages and pre-term births. National evidence shows that women who receive continuity of carer are:

  • 16% less likely to lose their baby
  • 24% less likely to experience pre-term birth
  • 7 times more likely to be attended at birth by a known midwife
  • 10% less likely to have an instrumental vaginal birth

It is also a more personal approach to maternity care and women attended at birth by a known midwife are more satisfied with the information and advice they are given, their preparation for labour and birth, their choice of pain relief and feeling in control.

Alison Dann, Continuity of Carer Project Lead at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust says:

“We are very pleased to be able to offer this more personal approach to mums at this very important time in their lives.  There are so many positives, it makes the women feel more confident because they know the midwife that is going to be with them throughout their journey. It can help improve mental health at this important time because the mums are more relaxed and it reduces the number of babies that are needed to be admitted to the special care unit, so there are a lot of advantages.  It is all about the mums having someone they know and feel confident with, supporting them throughout their pregnancy, birth and those first special days.”

Shelley Jackson one of the midwives in the Poppy team says:-

“It is important to be able to provide individualised care for women and the advantage is that if women require any additional appointments or care, this will be provided by the same midwife or team. Having the same midwife is about building up that trusting relationship, it’s so that we have an in-depth knowledge of their individualised care needs rather than being passed from midwife to midwife or professional to professional. it just enables us to give a better service to that woman, because we are the people that know the in-depth information about them and their care needs.

Continuity of Carer enables us to spend additional time with women should they be experiencing any health related conditions that may require additional support.  We can arrange our working day around individual women’s needs.  All of this helps us to build the really important relationships with each women  in preparation for supporting them with their birth and postnatal period.

I’ve had a woman this morning who has said ‘can you come and see me next week because it will just ease my anxiety and I know that you understand what is going on’ so the feedback is that it does really help.”