MOVES to help mums to be have a more positive birth with less need for an epidural or instrumental delivery are being brought in across Hambleton and Richmondshire.

The aim is to build up a closer relationship between pregnant women with the same midwives caring for mums to be before, during and after their baby's birth.

It's a new approach adopted by South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust which was trialled on Teesside and is now being rolled out to all pregnant women in Hambleton and Richmondshire. Mums to be will be cared for by the Friarage Hospital's continuity of carer team in Northallerton known as the Heather Team.

Tracey Smith, Friarage Maternity Centre and community midwife manager said: "The Heather Team will be providing antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care to women living in the local area who plan to birth at the Friarage Maternity Centre. We're all incredibly excited to be starting on this journey.

"Knowing their midwife means pregnant women are able to build a relationship with them. They can explore how they feel about pregnancy and birth, discuss and plan for their individual choices, knowing that their midwife will provide them with the information they need to make informed decisions about their care, and be supported.

"The evidence shows that women who receive care from a known midwife, or small team of midwives, throughout their pregnancy, birth and in the first few weeks with their new baby not only have a more positive experience, but are more likely to have a spontaneous birth and less likely to need an epidural, an episiotomy or instrumental birth."

The scheme means the small team of midwives following pregnant women through every step of the journey, building strong relationships with them and their families and providing seamless support from booking to labour and postnatal care. For the first time midwives are working across the whole maternity division following each mum-to-be rather than staffing a unit.