Thinking Differently Together - First 1,000 Days Of Life

Continuity of Carer Nicola explained that the Continuity of Carer model aims “to ensure safe care based on a relationship of mutual trust and respect in line with the woman’s decisions” (Better Births, 2016). Maternity care is provided by a named midwife, who is involved from the beginning of the pregnancy, supported within a small team of midwives. The majority of care episodes will be undertaken by the named midwife, but there are also opportunities for pregnant people to meet the rest of the team members. The team provides all aspects of midwifery care, before, during and after the birth. This arrangement allows good relationships to be formed between the midwifery team and the pregnant person, and if the family needs additional support the team is better able to identify those needs and refer them to the right services to obtain help. Continuity of midwife support provides for more personalised care, through the building of more trusting relationships that enable the co-production of more personalised plans for pregnancy and birth. It also provides safer care and evidence shows it improves maternal and neonatal outcomes: • 24% less likely to experience preterm birth • 16% less likely to experience a pregnancy loss overall • 19% less likely to experience a pregnancy loss before 24 weeks • 15% less likely to experience regional analgesia • 16% less likely to have an episiotomy • 10% less likely to experience instrumental vaginal birth • 7 times more likely to be attended at birth by a known midwife Two local families’ feedback on the difference that continuity has made to their birth experiences: Nicola Heath, Better Births Lead Midwife, East Suffolk & North Essex NHS Foundation Trust “I think it’s hugely beneficial to have the same midwife, or within reason the same midwife, antenatally and postnatally. It can make a huge difference to how you feel during the birth, and also things that might not be picked up are picked up by seeing the same person. Building relationships with someone is really important, you have to be able to trust them and to do that you need to see them more than once. I think that it’s such a special time in your life it’s nice to share that with somebody from the beginning to the end. And I also think that continuity in care is so important. You’ve got some many choices to make and you need someone to talk through things with. And having a go-to person who is there for you, and you can pick up the phone and speak to them at any point, is really, really important. I would like to say thank you for the care of the midwife at the hospital who helped me during my second and third births at Colchester. I had a great experience and I think you are doing a marvellous job. Thank you.” 13 | Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care System

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