Meet the team of midwives that are supporting young mums across Nottingham
International Day of the Midwife was held last Sunday May 5, and to mark the occasion Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) is celebrating the amazing midwives that help the women, babies and families across Nottingham and Nottinghamshire every day of the year.
A specialist team of midwives at NUH dedicate their time to preparing young mums for their exciting journey into parenthood.
The Teenage Pregnancy team is made up of four midwives – Clare Hatley, Carrie Hayward, Michaela Hill, and Steph Clark - and one maternity support worker, Nicola Brennan, who offer support to pregnant teenagers who are aged 19 years-old or younger.
Based at Old Basford Health Centre, they cover Nottingham City, Rushcliffe, Broxtowe, Gedling and Hucknall. The team work with other agencies to empower teenage mothers by helping to increase self-esteem and confidence as they prepare for parenthood, often for the first time. They offer support and advice on topics such as: early parenting, positive relationships, contraception, benefits and breastfeeding to give the new mums the best possible start with their baby, as well as providing routine maternity care to ensure the health of both mum and unborn baby are monitored.
Any pregnant woman under the age of 19 is automatically referred to the team and has a named midwife allocated to her. This midwife will usually provide continuity throughout the pregnancy, and occasionally may be present at birth and postnatal period, offering consistent advice and support whilst building a professional relationship to support the young woman through pregnancy and her transition to parenthood. The midwives usually see the women every two to four weeks during the antenatal period, and up to four weeks following the birth of their baby or babies and support is then continued by health visitors and other primary care teams.
The young mums-to-be are also offered two ‘Active Birth’ sessions a month between the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) and City Hospital.
Steph Clark, Community Midwife, said: “These sessions are usually attended by up to six couples. We’ve found that most young women feel more comfortable attending sessions led by a ‘known midwife’ and with other similarly aged people. They also tell us that they enjoy the opportunity to see a birthing room and the session also covers subjects such as preparation or birth, pain relief methods, alternative birth and immediate postnatal care.
“As part of routine maternity care, all teenage clients are offered a 34-week home visit with a Maternity Support Worker. This visit in the home environment gives the opportunity for further support in a safe environment and offer further health advice; which includes safe sleeping, infant feeding and ongoing contraception. All of our young women are offered a C-Card too, so that they can access free condoms to prevent or delay a further pregnancy. Other young people present within the visit, including the young person’s partner, siblings or friends, are also offered advice and C-Cards too, if they’d like.”
The team enjoy positive feedback from the women and their families. Some young women contact them directly for pre-pregnancy planning advice, whilst some young women feel comfortable to self-refer to the team when they have a subsequent pregnancy, reflecting the level of trust and support offered by the midwives.
Steph added: “The Teenage Pregnancy team provides really important support for young mums and it’s really important that we help to build their confidence ahead of becoming a parent. We’ve had lots of positive feedback for the team – it’s good to know that the young women and their families are getting the right advice and we find that they really engage with and enjoy our sessions.”
Sharon Dickinson, Director of Midwifery at NUH, said: “Our Teenage Pregnancy Team provides valuable advice and support to young mums-to-be and their partners/families. Not all maternity services have specialist midwives who are skilled in engaging and working with young women, we believe this is one of many areas where our specialist teams provide key support and care to this (potentially) vulnerable group. Accessing maternity services and receiving key public and pregnancy health messages is important for these young women so that they have the best possible start with their baby. The Active Birth sessions run by the team are a great opportunity for the mums to engage with our midwives and receive advice in a setting where they feel comfortable.”