Call the Midwife: NHS urges women to speak to a midwife as soon as they find out they are pregnant
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The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Local Maternity and Neonatal System (WY&H LMNS) is promoting maternity – also known as antenatal – care beginning at the earliest stage of pregnancy so women can be given the information and support they need to have a healthy pregnancy.
National guidance recommends that women should be offered a first booking appointment with a midwife by 10 weeks of pregnancy.
Booking sooner in the pregnancy journey ensures an approach that’s right for the individual and means they’ll get important information about things such as folic acid supplements, access to screening or stopping smoking, all of which will help ensure a healthy pregnancy.
Early booking appointments also mean that those with specific needs or risk factors can be identified early on so that they can get the care they need. Some tests to check for any baby health risks or conditions should also be done before 10 weeks.
Sara Hollins, Director of Midwifery at Bradford Royal Infirmary and Chair of the Inequalities Steering Group at the WY&H LMNS said: “A positive pregnancy test can mean different things for different women, depending on their circumstances.
"They may be excited, surprised, nervous or confused or experience a mix of emotions. But however they feel, it’s important that they speak to a midwife as soon as possible to make sure they get the care they need.
We know from local data that early booking rates differ in some parts of the region and are much lower in some groups than in others.
"This can affect the health of both mothers and babies, so we want to make sure that we’re addressing this inequality. That’s why we’re working with our healthcare colleagues and maternity partnerships to increase awareness of the importance of early booking.
We’ve worked with local women, representative of our diverse communities, to create a campaign that is meaningful, representative, and non-judgmental. We’ll be using it to share vital information across West Yorkshire and Harrogate in a variety of ways.”
Jenny Roddy, Consultant Midwife Health Equity at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “Every pregnancy journey is different, but seeing a midwife early is proven to deliver better outcomes for both mum and baby.
"Once you’ve found out that you’re pregnant the most important thing is to make contact and start a conversation. Midwives are here to help even if you are unsure of whether to continue with the pregnancy.
"Pregnancy care appointments are safe, confidential and accessible to everyone. Come talk to us. Find an appointment that suits you at speakwithamidwife.co.uk”