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Ask the Midwife

It is a sad but true fact, that in many NHS Trusts throughout England, maternity services are unable to offer women the continuity of care they need and deserve due to lack of staff and funding. I'm pretty sure I can speak for all Midwives when I say this hurts them as much as it hurts you, as they all know and understand the benefits of continuity of care, but for reasons beyond their control, are unable to offer it. I say this as a former Midwife, who loved nothing more than the picturesque ideal of 'Call the Midwife' where we could build a close relationship with the women in our care, and be with them at the births of their babies understanding their worries, needs and wants.  What happens now, in most areas (although there are a lucky few areas who have amazing community teams who can actually offer the ideal) is that women see a different Midwife at each antenatal appointment, and yet another one (or more) at the birth of their baby. 

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

This could very easily turn into an essay on how damaging that is for a Woman's experience of birth, but I am not here to slate our NHS - our Midwives, support staff and Gynae staff do amazing jobs under really shit conditions.

There is a problem for our women though, in that due to that lack of a close relationship or easy access to a Midwife, many women are sitting at home fretting about what they deem to be 'silly' questions about their pregnancies. There are dedicated phone lines in the maternity units, but women often feel daunted by calling them as the lines are busy, or they feel that their question is too small. This can really ruin a woman's experience of pregnancy, particularly for those who are anxious. 

Something I have discovered recently though is the most amazing tool for women designed by Midwife Hannah Harvey. Her very clever app: 'Ask the Midwife' is designed to combat this - it is a tool for women to ask any question they need to about pregnancy to an actual Midwife and get a very quick and evidence based response. I had a chat with Hannah recently and this is what she said:

Can you describe the Ask the Midwife App to me Hannah?

"Ask The Midwife is the UK’s first health advice app designed and run be registered midwives for women and their families. You can download the app, ask any questions you have about pregnancy, birth and beyond and get a fast, professional and friendly response from a registered midwife."

Can you tell us a bit about you and how you came to do this?

"I have been a Midwife for 5 years, and have always had an interest in digital health and how it can benefit women and families. A study showed that 84% of women use the internet for health advice in pregnancy, and most of the time this isn’t from credible sources. I wanted to create a solution that would mean everyone had access to professional advice online, to dissuade people from using Google and parenting forums as a source of information. In my local trust I developed Facebook groups and a Twitter page to improve maternity user experience in our NHS Trust, and won an innovation award for it in 2014. Following on from that, I wanted to be able to offer digital health services to users across the whole of the UK, and hopefully internationally at some point as well. This is how Ask The Midwife was born!"

Why do you think this App is needed right now?

"We live in a time now where everyone has smart phones, and people use social media and digital services like apps and web sites all the time. Digital Health is a brand new phenomenon, but one that is taking off at a drastic rate, because it is fast, easily accessible and credible. We have already been able to offer reassurance and guidance to so many expectant parents, and it is becoming evident how much a service like this is needed, by how quickly the app has taken off and how many people are using it."

Is any question too small or silly?

"No question is too small or silly for us. We actually get lots of questions that I have never been asked as a Midwife in clinical practice, which suggests to me that there are questions that women feel are too silly/small to ask face to face, so it is really great to see them being asked via the app. It means we are providing a service that is really needed, and people are able to get their anxieties and worries out to a professional and have the reassurance they need. If you think your question is silly, it isn’t. We will always be at the other end of the app waiting to answer any questions you have, bog or small."
 

How can people get the App, and what will they pay for it?

"The app is free to download on iOS. We are planning to launch Ask The Midwife on Android and on our website in 2017. Once you have downloaded, you get one free question and then after that you can pay anything from £1.99 for an Ask - up to £24.99 for one months unlimited use."
 

You can find out more at the Ask The Midwife website - and take advantage of the January sale, with unlimited access for £17! 

 

 

 

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How to save your baby's life..

Your baby choking... turning blue.. your worst nightmare right? And one of those horror stories that we have all heard about happening - would you know what to do? 

I recently met up with the lovely Rachel Moffatt, who is the founder of Ladybird First Aid - a company devoted to helping parents learn life saving first aid techniques for their children so they know exactly what to do to help their babies. Here is what Rachel said..

The lovely Rachel Moffatt

The lovely Rachel Moffatt

Can you tell me a bit about yourself, and how you got into your business? 

My name is Rachel and I live in Henley on Thames with my husband and 2 children, Jack ,3 and Ella, 1. I originally trained to be a Paediatric Nurse but didn’t complete my training and switched to a Degree in Biology (2:1 Hons) instead. This was a firm foundation for embarking into the Corporate World.

It wasn’t until I had my own children that I myself wanted to participate in a basic Baby and Child First Aid course.  However, I struggled to find one as I had a baby and toddler in tow and it was at this point that I realised how helpful it would be if the trainer could come to your own home in the evening or weekend to teach the class. I started researching to see if anyone offered this in my area but to no avail and so, with my academic and business background, I thought I’d set up my own business to teach first aid, making it as easy as possible for people to participate. I retrained as a First Aid Instructor and I can now offer an array of Certified First Aid courses, including adult courses, but I specialise in Paediatric First Aid.

How long has the business been running, and roughly how many people do you see each week?

Ladybird First Aid has been running for nearly a year and half now and it varies how many people I teach each week.  Sometimes I can teach just 1 class a week, sometimes 5 classes. There may be 4 people in a class, sometimes as many as 20.  It varies which is nice. Babes in arms are welcome too in classes so, if I’m lucky, I get cuddles whilst teaching which is always a bonus.

Tell me what Ladybird First Aid is all about, and what you do for people.

Ladybird First Aid offers parents, grandparents, carers and parents-to-be, baby and child first aid classes in towns and villages in and around the Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire borders as well as in the comfort of your own home.In just 2 hours you learn what to do in the vital minutes whilst waiting for the emergency services to arrive.  This includes CPR, recovery position and choking. We also cover burns, head injuries and meningitis plus more… the 2 hour classes can cover babies (birth to aged 1) and children (1 -11 years), just children or children and adults – the choice is yours. The aim of the 2 hour classes is to give parents more confidence and not to scare them; they are nice and friendly and informal! Ladybird First Aid also offers Certified First Aid courses such as 12 hour/ level 3 Paediatric First Aid (Ofsted and EYFS recognised) courses and goes into Primary Schools and Nurseries to teach and as well as running courses on weekends and evenings for Childminders and Nannies.

Calm Births Hypnobirthing Berkshire

 What would an average session look like?

An average session is 2 hours and is in someone’s home in the evening when their children are in bed. Often parents encourage grandparents to participate in the course with them, especially if they are helping with childcare and I frequently receive requests from NCT groups getting together to join in the course. The class can adapt to whatever size room is available; as long as there is enough space in which to practice CPR, we are OK. The classes are always informal and questions are encouraged as we go along. Also, if there is anything specific people wish to cover, this can be accommodated too such as anaphylaxis or using a defibrillator. For larger groups we will hire a venue such as a village hall.

Which areas do you focus on particularly? 

In a nutshell Baby and Child Basic Life Support and especially choking as that is what lots of parents fear most.

 Do you suggest that people refresh their skills after a certain amount of time?

Yes, ideally once a year as I’m afraid that people forget First Aid and what to do! I always remind people that if you are in the unfortunate position where you have to call 999/112, the Emergency Services Operators are fantastic and will talk you through what to do, but obviously if you have done the course, you are that one step ahead.

What is the best way for people to get in touch with you to learn more or book on?

Contact me directly by emailing rachel@ladybirdfirstaid.com or calling 07812 164350

Ladybird First Aid is offering any followers of Calm Births a 10% discount on home or local venue 2 hour classes if the class is taken before 2017. I still have day and evening slots available in December so contact me to book.  My next open/local venue 2hr baby and child first aid class is in Henley on Thames on Wednesday 7th December, 10am – 12noon and there are still spaces available.

You can also find Rachel on Facebook or her website which is: www.ladybirdfirstaid.com 

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