This month we are focussing on maternity. If you are an expected mother or have a young child you may find some of these resources helpful.
World Breastfeeding Week 1-7 August
World Breastfeeding Week aims to increase the rate of breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. Currently a national average of 73% mothers breastfeed at the time the baby is born, and locally it is 62%.
We are keen that this number increases, so that everyone who is able to breastfeed does so. Read about the benefits of breastfeeding and support available in our latest press release or visit the NHS Choices website.
Perinatal mental health: bad moments don’t make bad mums
During pregnancy or as a new mother you can often feel pressured. It is important to know that help and support is available:
Pandas http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/ is a charity which offers pre and post-natal depression advice and support. Their website lists support groups and tools to manage your mental health.
Exercise is known to help reduce mental health issues. Read this blog by Dr Elizabeth Boath from Staffordshire University entitle “Exercise as an adjunct treatment for postpartum depression for women living in an inner city-A pilot study.”
Out of the Blue is a series of films, created by Best Beginnings, to help take the country to the Tipping Point where everyone knows that mental health is as important as physical health. Watch the films: https://www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/out-of-the-blue and you can also follow the campaign on Twitter @BestBeginnings and #OutOfTheBlue
In February 2016, Better Births set out the five-year plan for NHS maternity services in England to become safer and more personalised. There is a dedicated website http://betterbirths.rcm.org.uk/. which hosts a variety of resources and information covering three key topics; continuity of carer, facilitating normality and addressing inequalities.
Jacque Gerrard, Director England and Mary Ross-Davie, Country Director for Scotland jointly wrote a blog about Better Births and how this would be implemented: https://www.rcm.org.uk/news-views-and-analysis/views/better-births-and-the-best-start-implementing-the-english-and-scottish
Keeping your baby safe and well
During pregnancy and labour
- It is important to monitor your babies movements and if their movement changes – contact your midwife. Kicks count offers support and advice
- One of the key messages from Better Births is about women having normal births. There are a number of things you can do during labour to help, such as particular birthing positions.
Your baby and toddler
Each year 40,000 under-fives are admitted to hospital following accidents, and lots of these accidents are preventable. NHS Choices have a number of ‘how to’ guides on protecting your baby from some of the commonest accidents: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/baby-safety-tips.aspx
Other tips and ‘must dos’ include:
- Where should my baby sleep? video
- The Lullaby Trust provides expert advice on safer sleep for babies
- Always wash your hands before holding a baby to prevent the spread of any illnesses
- A normal temperature in babies is about 36.4C (97.5F), but this can vary slightly. Read about how to take your babies temperature.
- Take up the vaccinations offered to your baby – download the vaccination schedule age checklist
There are a number of charities that can offer support if you experience a miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, including:
- https://www.miscarriageassociation.org.uk/ - for women and families who have experienced a miscarriage
- https://www.sands.org.uk/ - for women and families who have experience a stillbirth or neonatal death
Healthy mum, healthy baby
- everything you need to know about a healthy pregnancy diet and supplements in pregnancy including what foods to eat and what food you should avoid
- smoking and drinking can harm an unborn baby – read our stop smoking and alcohol pages for help trying to quit
- it is recommended that women have the flu vaccine in pregnancy and whooping cough vaccine in pregnancy