MORE mams will get the same midwife looking after them in pregnancy, during and after their baby’s birth thanks to the expansion of a continuity of carer initiative.

The maternity service for County Durham and Darlington started the new 'Infinity' way of working as a pilot in Stanley, in November 2020.

The scheme, which sees pregnant women have one of a small team of experienced midwives care for them throughout their journey and a 'buddy' midwife when they are not available, is now in Ferryhill.

Amy Matthews, continuity of carer team lead and project midwife, at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are delighted to introduce an Infinity team to Ferryhill following the success of the Infinity team in Stanley.

"This is part of a national drive to improve birth outcomes for families and their new babies and there are huge advantages to women in having continuity of carer during pregnancy.

“They and their families can get to know their named midwife and develop a strong relationship with them.

"A trusting relationship makes it easier and more likely they'll raise any worries or problems they're experiencing that could impact them or their baby – crucial to identifying concerns early."

Ferryhill Infinity team

Ferryhill Infinity team

While women will have a single midwife leading their care, a 'buddy' midwife will step in when they are not available and the scheme applies whether a home or hospital birth is planned.

The Infinity Team is made up of experienced midwives from community and hospital backgrounds, plus a maternity care assistant, and it will work closely with GPs and health visitors and still transfer care to them at between ten to 14 days after the baby is born.

Since the launch of Infinity in Stanley midwives have seen an increase in breastfeeding rates, a higher rate of normal births, lower rates of episiotomy and improvements in the rates of smoking at the time of delivery.

Before the end of 2021, Infinity teams will be launched in Bishop Auckland, Consett and West Durham with plans for further teams to be launched in Sacriston and Sedgefield in early 2022.

Claire Goodsir with midwife Helen Phillips

Claire Goodsir with midwife Helen Phillips

Claire Goodsir, from Stanley, has been under the care of the Infinity team and midwife Helen Phillips.

She said: “I first met my midwife Helen at my 16 week antenatal appointment, and she has since been part of my care right up to my induction and birth of my baby girl. As a first time mum, I was pretty anxious to say the least and having the same midwife to speak to/ask questions to – who knew me well by the end, made a significant difference to my whole pregnancy experience.

“From small bump to baby, Helen has seen me through it all and has now done my post-natal checks at home. It really means so much to me that I have had this high level and continuity of care.

"Not only this, but Helen is professional, thorough, personable, and simply one of the kindest people I have met.

“As a nurse myself, the questions I had were endless and nothing was ever too much trouble for the Infinity Team.

"I think that having this continuity is so important for all expectant mothers and would improve outcomes overall – I have a lot to thank the Infinity team for.”

All women currently booked for care in maternity services can now also benefit from a paperless, Badgernet record.

BadgerNet’s Maternity Notes is an online portal and app that allows women access to their maternity records over the internet through a PC, tablet device or mobile phone as well as facilitating women and midwives to collaborate in their care, with information around their pregnancy at their fingertips.

This gives mothers more control over their pregnancy and care records.