04/06/2019 | Press releases

ESNEFT midwives and mums take part in exciting “Pregnancy Circles” research

Mums-to-be who are receiving care from East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust (ESNEFT) are being given the chance to try out a new way of accessing ante-natal care which aims to encourage mutual support and help tackle isolation.

Left to right:- midwives Carol Wells, Jess Rowland, Clair Barker, Helen Smith and support worker Laura Chopping

Community midwives in some areas of Ipswich and Colchester are offering women the opportunity to take part in REACH ‘Pregnancy Circles’ research. The study will compare having traditional one-to-one antenatal care with receiving care as part of a group.

Each pregnancy circle will be made up of eight to 12 women who are all at around the same stage in their pregnancy. They will have all of their appointments at the times they would usually see a midwife, and will be given private time during each session so that midwives can complete individual elements of care, such as checking that their baby is growing well.

The circle will be led by the same group of specially-trained midwives throughout, in line with a national drive to improve continuity of care in maternity services.

Helen Smith, consultant midwife with ESNEFT, said: “We are really pleased to be taking part in this national study, which will look a woman’s experiences when ante-natal care is delivered in a different way. A pilot study showed that receiving care in a group could bring particular benefits to some women by helping to reduce social isolation and providing them with a mutual support network. Now this study wants to find out if the health of the mother and baby are improved by this different type of antenatal care.

The pregnancy circle aims to give women the resources they need to care for themselves more effectively during their pregnancy while also encouraging them to help each other to find solutions to issues they may be facing.

The study is open to first-time mums as well as women who have already had one or more children. It has been sponsored by the University of East London and funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Anyone who would like more information should speak to their midwife.

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