MAMA Academy ‘Made to Measure’ campaign

new logo backgroundWhilst I am Blogs For Babies editor, I am also Media Coordinator for the wonderful pregnancy charity MAMA Academy (amongst other things!) so I was delighted to be involved in the launch of the Made to Measure campaign which aims to reduce the UK’s shocking stillbirth rates – still among the highest in Western Europe.

pilogoMade to Measure is all about promoting uptake of the Perinatal Institute’s Growth Assessment Protocol (GAP) programme by all hospital trusts providing a maternity service. This is recommended practice, nationally endorsed by NHS England, but there are still a sizeable number of trusts that have not yet signed up for GAP training – and the implications of this are serious.

The GAP programme is designed to enable midwives to more accurately measure the growth of a baby in the womb by plotting the symphysis fundal height measurements (that your midwife takes with a tape measure) on a specially customised growth chart, unique to the mother. This takes into account the mother’s height, weight, ethnicity, and previous obstetric history to more reliably indicate if the baby is becoming growth restricted – a sign that the placenta may be failing and a key early indicator of the risk of stillbirth.

bump 3If every trust was to adopt the GAP programme in their maternity service, using the customised charts and the package of training for midwives, obstetricians and ultrasonographers that ensures all professionals involved in the care of women are properly educated in their use, it is estimated that 1000 babies could be saved each year. By detecting more growth restricted babies, we can greatly increase their chances of being born safely.

How you can help

  • Head on over to the Made to Measure campaign page on the MAMA Academy website to read all about GAP and find some related links.
  • Use the example letter on the MAMA Academy website to email your local Head of Midwifery and encourage them to sign upto GAP training.
  • Email contact@mamaacademy.org.uk to share your story of having a baby affected by growth restriction with MAMA Academy, to add to a list of case studies for media requests.
  • Email contact@mamaacademy.org.uk if you are interested in becoming a campaign ambassador in your area.
  • Write a post on your own blog to help promote the campaign or share a post with Blogs For Babies and I’ll publish your story here.
  • Follow @MAMAAcademy on Twitter and like their Facebook page facebook.com/MAMAAcademy for regular updates on the campaign as more trusts are encouraged to sign up. Help promote the campaign on social media using the hashtags #1000babies and #Made2Measure.

Made to Measure flyer

 

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Ready for Baby C – Hannah Clarke

hannah clarke 3The lovely Hannah wrote one of our first posts on Blogs For Babies back when she was 22 weeks pregnant. Now at 36 weeks, she fills us in on how her pregnancy has progressed as she gets closer to D-Day!

Hannah blogs at www.buddingsmiles.co.uk

My first Blogs for Babies post covered a bit of background about me and the story of my pregnancy up to 22 weeks. Well, I’m currently 36 weeks pregnant so felt an update was due as really, Baby C could appear any time over the next 6 (please make it 4!) weeks!

hannah clarke 1Midway through my second trimester when I last wrote, the feeling wonderful phase continued for several more weeks. At 27 weeks and 4 days I stood and walked my way around London in the blazing sunshine, cheering on my darling husband who was running the marathon. The very next morning, at 4am, we then set off on a plane to Paris. You can read about both of these wonderful but exhausting events on my blog, but suffice to say we were both exhausted! It was such a proud time, seeing Phil run the marathon, we had a great weekend and he did so well.

hannah clarke 2Paris was tiring, but so much fun and we managed to see and do pretty much everything we wanted to. In both cities, we got around on foot or public transport and I am so happy to report that I was offered a seat on EVERY train, metro and bus that we went on, without exception. I would never have asked for a seat unless I was really struggling, but I was touched by the fact that the situation never even arose. In a time when we often moan about society and manners, it’s lovely to have had such a positive experience.

Baby C was pretty worn out by all the travelling and had a quiet couple of days in Paris. I noticed the slight reduction in movement so made a point of spending an evening relaxing and the moment I got into the bath those wriggles and kicks started again with Baby C’s usual excitement! I wouldn’t say I worried when I noticed the reduction, because I knew part of it was likely to be that I’d been so busy I had probably missed a lot of movement even though it had in fact been there. I had my maternity notes with me and if my bath and relaxing evening hadn’t have worked, I wouldn’t have hesitated to new ambassador logoseek advice. I’ve become an Ambassador for the fantastic MAMA Academy and one of the key things we promote is #MyPositivePregnancy, which involves being confident to know your baby’s movements and when to seek medical advice. It’s so, so important for women to feel empowered enough to contact a midwife if they feel something is even slightly wrong, because this is your unborn child’s health and life and a Mummy is the one and only person in the entire world who can tell if there is a change.

By the time we got home I was 28+1 and the busy week was certainly taking its toll. I spent all of Easter Saturday making a 3-tier Hummingbird Bakery Carrot Cake (recipe on my blog) so by Easter Sunday I was exhausted! Around this time, things started to get a bit tricky at work too. My job as a Work Related Learning Trainer in a special needs school means being out and about for 4-6 hours of the day, Monday to Friday, with only a 30 minute lunch break in the middle. Between work placements with the students on nature reserves, in supermarkets and in the local university, I was also on my feet a lot and this started to cause issues with my hips and pelvis.

My husband did 2 out of the 3 hours of our daily drive, which I really appreciated as sometimes just lifting my foot on the pedals would cause quite a lot of pain. My aqua yoga classes were, and remain, absolutely amazing in helping me to relax and loosen my achey joints a little bit. Being specifically for pregnancy, the teacher knows exactly what we can do without causing ourselves issues and I’ve also met some wonderful friends whose children Baby C will grow up with.

As the weeks wore on I was struggling to sleep at night due to hip pains, heartburn and all the usual pregnancy joys! At my 31 week midwife appointment, I explained what my job entailed, including the commute, and that I wasn’t sleeping well. My midwife was not happy that I’d been doing so much and immediately got my GP to sign me off. The following Monday, at 31+5, I went into work and handed the note in, feeling incredibly awful as I did so!

I wrote a post about self confidence in pregnancy last week and a lot of the need to write that came from the manner in which I ended up finishing work. I’d prepared myself, my students and the work placements for a specific date on which I would leave and I was riddled with guilt and – in my mind – giving in two weeks before that date came around. I told myself that it wasn’t my fault a replacement hadn’t been hired, as this had caused some issues with regards me not being able to relinquish any responsibilities, but still I felt that I had let my students down.

The first week or two were really tough; I also then had some major emergency repairs which came up on a rented property we own, so they needed sorted (and paying for) immediately, then in the same week we found out that my Nan had received funding and would be going into care the very next week. All of those things piled up in my mind and I struggled to pull myself together.

A change came at about 33-34 weeks when I met up with some friends, went out on a brilliant date night with my husband and got the nursery painted. It felt so positive and really helped to lift my spirits.

hannah clarke 4As I said, I’m now 36 weeks and I feel like I’m in a really good place. As of last week, Baby C was 1/5 engaged and I’ve had a constant pressure with some pains very low down so I’m really positive that he/she is staying head down now ready to make a grand entrance into Mummy and Daddy’s life. Walking is interesting at times with Baby C being so low, but I really don’t mind because it means we’re on track ready for labour, whenever that may happen! My blood pressure is nice and low, my bloods all look fine and I’ve even had a few nights in a row when I’ve slept through – Bonus!

I’ve written a third trimester round-up, which will be followed by weekly updates until Baby C arrives, so please do pay me a visit and keep your fingers crossed for me that we don’t go too over and have a nice, natural labour! Whatever happens though, I’m so excited to know that it really won’t be long until Phil and I meet our son or daughter, it’s a wonderful time and one to be treasured.

Thank you for reading and I look forward to introducing Baby C to you very soon when he or she has a name and isn’t just ‘he or she’ anymore!

Follow Hannah on Twitter @BuddingSmiles

Pre-eclampsia and my role as a MAMA Ambassador – Kiran Chug

Kiran pic 1In recognition of Pre-eclampsia Awareness Month, Kiran recounts her experience of pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome in her first pregnancy, and why that experience has encouraged her to become a MAMA Academy Ambassador to help the charity promote positive pregnancies.

Kiran lives in London with her husband and two children, Milin and Jasmin. She says they are ‘a little family who feel incredibly lucky to have each other’.

Kiran blogs at www.mummysays.net

As soon as I heard the phone ring on that beautiful summer’s afternoon, I knew something was wrong. It was my midwife – she said something along these lines: “We’ve got the results of yesterday’s blood tests Kiran. Can you go to the hospital now please. They’re expecting you.” I had just made it to 37 weeks pregnant. We hadn’t yet painted the nursery.

What followed was a terrifying but ultimately amazing couple of weeks. And then I brought home my first baby. Milin. He was healthy and happy and perfect – but I will never forget the fear that went through me the first time I heard the word that changed my pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia.

That was more than two years ago. I have learnt so much about Pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome since then. Although both are serious conditions that can affect pregnant women, I knew very little about them before being told I had them. My story has a happy ending. However, my experience of these illnesses made me realise how important it is to be armed with knowledge while pregnant. It’s crucial, vital, essential, to seek professional help at the first inkling that something might be wrong. And so it follows that it’s crucial, vital, essential, to be able to recognise that something might be wrong.

My pre-eclampsia was picked up quickly because I phoned my midwife and asked to see her – despite not having an appointment scheduled. I was worried about the swelling in my feet and hands which wouldn’t go down. I hadn’t connected it with the unbearable headaches I was experiencing and the excruciating pain beneath my ribs. However, my instinct was to seek advice. I was sent for tests which showed my blood pressure had risen suddenly, my liver function was out, protein was leaching into my urine and my platelet count was very low. I was admitted to hospital with pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome and booked in for an induction.

Kiran pic 2Milin’s growth rate had been slowing down – perhaps because my placenta had stopped working as efficiently as it should have been. By seeking advice from medical professionals, I had placed myself and my baby in the safest hands.

I will never forget being told I was being admitted. I was terrified because I knew so little about what pre-eclampsia was and what it meant for me and my baby. I couldn’t understand what was happening. I wasn’t ready to have my baby, I hadn’t imagined it would happen this way. My lack of knowledge and understanding made me feel like I was losing control over my pregnancy, and I felt very afraid. Since then, I’ve learnt so much about the condition I was suffering from. I went into my second pregnancy far more knowledgeable and confident.

My experiences have prompted me to join a team of ambassadors for the UK charity MAMA Academy. Its goal is to help babies arrive safely and promote positive pregnancies. MAMA Academy educates expectant mums on how to keep healthy and when they should call their midwife for advice. It also supports midwives by keeping them up to date with current guidelines and research to aid consistent maternity care. I’ll be helping the MAMA Academy spread its key messages of promoting healthy pregnancies and reducing baby loss – and you’ll see more on this in the coming months. In the meantime, do visit MAMA Academy to find out more.

Follow Kiran on Twitter @kiranchug

 

Blog for MAMA – be a MAMA Academy Ambassador

logo1SquareWhiteIn one of my guises, I am Social Media and Fundraising Organiser for the charity MAMA Academy, a small but growing national charity committed to promoting positive pregnancies and reducing baby loss by educating both mums and midwives with antenatal information for parents and professionals.

One of the best ways for us to get our healthy pregnancy messages out there is by raising awareness on social media (which is where I come in), and the optimum way to make a campaign successful, in my experience at least, is to get parent bloggers on board. This is where you come in.

We are looking for committed bloggers to become MAMA Academy Ambassadors. We would like you to actively promote the positive pregnancy messages of the charity on your blog, by writing relevant posts and sharing them on social media. Ideally you will be blogging through a current pregnancy or trying to conceive, but we would absolutely love to involve new mums or anyone else with a passion for helping more babies arrive safely.

You will be able to display a MAMA Academy Ambassador badge on your blog, and we will back you up with regular promotion on Facebook and Twitter. Anyone can informally jump on board by mentioning MAMA Academy and using the hashtag #MyPositivePregnancy but if you want that coveted title, and the extra publicity that comes with it, we need you to be an Ambassador. We will rely on our Ambassadors to write topical posts for us to help promote certain messages but you can blog for MAMA at any time when you feel the need!

Once we have our first group of Ambassadors established, we’ll be able to showcase your blogs on our website as our valued supporters, so don’t miss out on this opportunity to be associated with us. We can’t wait to work with you.

To find out more about MAMA Academy, visit www.mamaacademy.org.uk.

If you’re interested in becoming a MAMA Ambassador, drop me an email at jenny@mamaacademy.org.uk.

Thanks everyone!

Jenny x

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