Midwives at Queen's Hospital encourage women to book early for their specialist services
PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:47 11 July 2018
With more than 8,000 babies delivered each year midwives at Havering's hospital Trust are endeavouring to ensure that mothers in the borough make the most out of their specialist services.
Members of the maternity unit at Queen’s Hospital in Rom Valley Way are urging pregnant women to make sure they book in for care at the hospital as early as possible.
As the consultant obstetrician head for antenatal care, Caoilin Maclaverty is in charge of making sure that women at the hospital are as healthy as they can be when they give birth.
She said: “I’m in charge of making sure that we’re doing the right work in accordance with national health guide lines.
“We really want women who are pregnant to book in as early as possible - for them to make contact with their GP when they are at least around six to eight weeks pregnant.
“Pregnant women should not delay accessing antenatal care, even if they are not yet registered with a GP.”
Claire Homeyard, consultant midwife who works with public health explained that there are three main ways women can book in for care.
“Traditionally women have always gone to their GP,” said Claire.
“But if it’s going to cause delays, women can complete a self-referral online or they can call the hospital between 8.30am to 4pm.”
Patience Chandiwana is the screening coordinator for the hospital’s trust and she has seen research that shows a correlation between late bookings and adverse outcomes.
“Some women might delay their bookings because they are still processing or trying to get their paper work together to register with a GP and that’s why we want to encourage them to self-refer,” she said.
“The sooner the women come in for care, the sooner they get advice or any help they may require to be as healthy as possible during their pregnancy.”
By booking early pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant can make better use of the hospital’s specialist services.
The team working in the maternity unit are working hard to reduce risks for pregnant mother’s who smoke, are obese or overweight or have diabetes.
“55per cent of our patients are overweight or obese and this increases risks of high blood pressure and makes it more difficult for us to see the baby during scans,” Caoilin explained.
Claire added: “That’s why we encourage breast feeding as it helps reduce the risks of the baby being overweight and it helps the mother lose weight to.”
Nationally the numbers of pregnant mothers who smoke varies as there are around 2pc of pregnant of women who smoke in West London and yet in Blackpool the number rises to 23pc.
The Trust works with the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) to provide services to help Redbridge women stop smoking and with Dagenham Council to help patients in Havering and Barking and Dagenham.
Caoilin told the Recorder: “Smoking increases risks of growth restriction, as a third of babies born to mothers who smoke have their growth restricted.
“In Havering and Barking and Dagenham around 10pc of mothers were still smoking at the time of their delivery, however we have reduced that to between 7 - 8pc of mothers smoking at the time of delivery.
“Redbridge traditionally has a lower number of mothers who smoke at around 3pc of pregnant women.”
Caoilin and Claire stressed the importance for women to share any history they many have of mental health issues with their community midwife or GP.
“It’s important that they’re mentally healthy as well as physically well.
“We work closely with our colleagues at NELFT and we work together as a team,” said Claire.
Finally Caoilin wanted to stress the importance for mothers with diabetes to book in early and get their blood sugars down before giving birth.
“It makes an enormous difference to the pregnancy as we’re able to get their blood sugars down to a normal level.
“If the mother hasn’t planned for the pregnancy, those high blood levels can cause abnormalities.
“In a recent Care Quality Commission inspection, our maternity services were judged as being good which shows that we’re going in the right direction.”
To book in for care, call 0208 970 5757 or visit bhrhospitals.nhs.uk/maternity-services.