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More women across mid and south Essex are now receiving care from the same small team of midwives before, during and after the birth of their child.
Maternity services across Essex are adopting the Continuity of Carer model – under which six to eight midwives work together in the community.
More maternity services across England are switching to this model of care. Research suggests this helps reduce the risk of stillbirth, premature birth, admissions to neo-natal units or the need for assisted birth, epidural pain relief and episiotomy.
Deborah Edwards, Better Births lead midwife at Basildon and Thurrock explains: “Women prefer to be cared for by one midwife or a small team of midwives throughout their maternity journey. Satisfaction levels are higher amongst women who were supported through childbirth by a midwife who was known to them.
“This approach will mean more women and their families can build a relationship of trust with a known midwife. Experience elsewhere suggests that women are more likely to discuss their fears and any problems they may be experiencing if they know the midwife well.”
Midwives are excited about the new way of working – which began in July and has been rolled out across Basildon, Broomfield and Southend maternity services.
Head of midwifery and gynaecology at Southend Hospital, Paula Hollis said: “Midwives strive to provide the best possible care for women and to achieve safe births for babies. We are excited about providing more personalised support to women at this special time in their lives.
“I feel this is an incredibly exciting time to be a midwife and look forward to watching maternity services across our Trust flourish as we roll out more Continuity of Carer teams over the coming months.”
The changes are encouraging midwives to think more creatively. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, midwives are seeking other avenues to connect with mothers. With initiatives such as a virtual antenatal classes to ‘meet the midwives’ being explored.
Colleagues in Basildon and Thurrock have plans to meet some mothers at a community café once the Covid-19 crisis is over.