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Abigail Ringer writes about Baby Lifeline’s new ‘Monitoring for Mums’ appeal and the importance of good monitoring of mums and babies during labour and following birth to prevent serious injuries.
This month marks the launch of Baby Lifeline’s nationwide ‘Monitoring for Mums’ appeal, with the aim of supplying potentially life-saving technology and training to improve care for mothers and babies and giving children the best possible start in life.
Baby Lifeline describes itself as a unique national charity supporting the care of pregnant women and new born babies all over the UK and worldwide. One of the main aims of the charity is to raise funds to buy maternity equipment.
Baby Lifeline was set up in 1981 by Judy Ledger after the loss of 3 of her own babies. Today, thirty five years later, the charity can boast having raised £9 million to fund the purchase of vital equipment for maternity and special care baby units.
This evening, 8th September 2016, Baby Lifeline’s annual dinner will provide a launch for the charity’s major Monitoring for Mums appeal.
As part of this exciting appeal, Baby Lifeline has asked Hospital Trusts across the UK to provide their ‘wish lists’ for maternity monitoring equipment. To date, £4.5 million worth of equipment has been requested and raising funds to meet these requests will be no small challenge.
In order to meet this challenge, Baby Lifeline is reaching out to individuals, groups, schools and businesses to get involved, raise money and make a difference.
Last year, according to the Office for National Statistics, 1 in 222 babies were stillborn in England and Wales, a reduction of 3.3% since 2014. The careful monitoring of babies before they are born may play a crucial role in achieving improved care and better outcomes.
Last month, Baby Lifeline donated a new fetal monitor to Wansbeck General Hospital in Northumberland. The device is used during pregnancy and labour to monitor both the mother and baby’s heart rate and can also measure the mother’s blood pressure, temperature and oxygen levels.
By continually recording a baby’s heart rate, a fetal monitor gives doctors and midwives a better understanding of the health of an unborn baby on a second by second basis. When a baby is having problems, such as not getting enough oxygen, the monitor should display a corresponding drop in heart rate and the treating team will know to act quickly. According to the Royal College of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians, failure to recognise and act on an abnormal CTG is one of the most common causes of intrapartum stillbirths and can lead to complex medico-legal issues.
Similarly, in June of this year, Baby Lifeline donated a complete Bilicare System to the Neonatal Unit at Southmead Hospital in Bristol. The system will enable the team to monitor levels of bilirubin in new born babies. Bilirubin is formed naturally in the body but sometimes levels of bilirubin can build up in new born babies whose little bodies lack the ability to break it down. Left untreated, elevated levels of bilirubin can cause brain damage leading to cerebral palsy and global developmental delay.
As part of a team of lawyers working with children and families affected by injuries suffered during labour or shortly following birth, that in turn may have been prevented with better monitoring equipment and training for staff, the Monitoring for Mums appeal has our full support and I wish Baby Lifeline every success.
We have created an informative guide for those affected by injuries suffered during pregnancy, around the time of birth or in the newborn period – please click on this link to take you to ‘Birth Injury Info’.