COMMENT: Maternity initiative will ease stress of mums-to-be

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Hospitals in Portsmouth have not been far away from criticism over the years, whether it be A&E waiting times, general treatment or any other medical matter under the sun.

But as has often been said it is not the individual members of staff who are being criticised but the system and the lack of funding for the health service.

So it is refreshing to learn that midwives in Portsmouth are looking to change how they work to give mums-to-be and first-time mums more continuity throughout their pregnancy journey.

While the end result of pregnancy can be one of most joyous moments imaginable, pregnancy itself can cause much stress and anxiety.

Now nurses are on a mission to make sure there is a friendly and supportive face every step of the way.

A team of 10 midwives at Portsmouth Maternity Centre have come together to form Athena, a pilot scheme with a team to provide care throughout the whole pregnancy journey, from antenatal care to postnatal care, as well as having a midwife on call during the day and night to provide labour care.

As community midwife Sarah Finch says: ‘Having a midwife you recognise and who you have a trusting relationship with also means you are more likely to tell them if you have low mood or problems with your mental health after having your baby.’

Evidence shows that women who have a midwife that they know in labour are less likely to need interventions during their pregnancy and birth and are more likely to be satisfied with their care.

The team will now work on-call shifts throughout the week incorporated in their regular early and late shift patterns as part of the initiative at the centre on St Mary’s Community Healthcare Campus at Milton Road.

Despite criticism of the NHS the dedication of the staff who work within it can only be applauded.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​