Kettering hospital launches new C-section team to support pregnant women

From left, healthcare assistant Lorraine Preedy, lead midwife Mary Grey, new mum Jessica Fowler with baby Fox and midwives Victoria Hutchinson, Helen Sharp and Wendy Eady during the launch at Kettering General Hospital.
From left, healthcare assistant Lorraine Preedy, lead midwife Mary Grey, new mum Jessica Fowler with baby Fox and midwives Victoria Hutchinson, Helen Sharp and Wendy Eady during the launch at Kettering General Hospital.

A new way of supporting mothers-to-be who need a Caesarean section has been developed by Kettering General Hospital.

The Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has developed a Planned Caesarean Section team which will guide women throughout the process and is aiming for each mother to see the same midwife throughout her visits to the hospital until she has given birth.

The team was officially launched yesterday (Monday) during an event at Bay 14 on Rowan Ward at the hospital but was set up at the beginning of March and has already supported more than 200 women to have a planned Caesarean section.

It consists of five midwives and two healthcare assistants who will spend all of their time supporting the 15 women per week who need to have Caesarean section.

The hospital's continuity of care lead midwife Mary Grey said: “Historically, mothers-to-be who need to have a Caesarean section for medical reasons may have seen up to 10 different midwives during their care.

“They would have a community midwife, different midwives for clinics, for hospital appointments and around the Caesarean section and stay in hospital itself.

“This meant that these mothers received somewhat disjointed care and often had to repeat their histories to each new member of staff they came into contact with, which is not ideal.”

Women may need to have a planned Caesarean section if they have previously had to have an emergency C-section or have a medical condition which could affect their pregnancy.

While designing the new service, midwives were also aware that mothers can be nervous of having a planned Caesarean if they have previously had a traumatic medical emergency which resulted in an emergency section.

Midwife Wendy Eady explained: “To improve the planned Caesarean journey, we knew the key would be to develop more continuous and personal care with the same midwife.

“So we have created a small dedicated team of midwives who will support women who need this procedure very closely throughout their time in hospital.”

Now mums who are booked in for a planned Caesarean will be introduced to the team at their first hospital appointment, receive their antenatal education sessions from the same team and a midwife will then see them for their pre-operative assessment appointment. Ideally the same midwife will then support them throughout the day of their section through to birth and the same midwife will also provide their post-natal care until they are discharge from hospital.

Wendy added: “The benefit of this will be that mums and their families will have more time with a midwife who knows them well and is aware of any anxieties they may have.

“We hope this continuity of care will help improve families’ experience of planned sections at Kettering General Hospital.”

The new service is part of the hospital’s response to NHS England’s Better Births Five-Year Forward View – a plan to improve the quality, consistency and continuity of midwifery care across the country.

New mum Jessica Fowler, of Rothwell, gave birth to her son Fox on April 15 with the support of the new team. She opted for a Caesarean birth due to complications following the birth of her daughter Poppy in 2017.

She said: “Since having a natural home birth with my daughter, I wanted what is known as a natural, woman-centred Caesarean.

“That is trying to achieve as close to a natural a birth as possible – being able to participate in the birth, to watch my son being born and having immediate skin-to-skin contact in ‘the golden hour’.

“The team were respectful of my wishes and were extremely kind and patient. It couldn’t have been better. The atmosphere was calm and I had prepared some music which we listened to in theatre while Fox was being born.

“I know that the continuity of care that the new elective Caesarean team plan to provide will be a valuable and well-received by new and expectant mothers.

“The importance of building relationships and development of trust plays, without doubt, a major part in any positive birth experience.”

The hospital's head of midwifery Mara Tonks said: “I want to congratulate our midwives for the way in which they have established this new team to improve care for women who need to have a planned Caesarean section.

“They have looked very closely at the journey women used to have and designed a way to improve it with the emphasis on creating a very personal and individualised plan of care that suits each family’s needs.”