Local NHS launches new maternity website

A new local NHS maternity website goes fully live today, 23 April 2024, after being tested by expectant parents in Suffolk and north east Essex over the last few weeks.

The site – an all-you-need-to-know guide to pregnancy and childbirth – covers everything from finding out you’re pregnant to birth and bringing baby home, including common pregnancy-related problems, information about where to give birth, employment rights and support groups. The site contains a set of 17 films created in partnership with midwives, doctors, health visitors and the community, which help explain key stages such as pregnancy screening, induction of labour and feeding your baby.

The site, www.sneewellbeing.org.uk/maternity, is a sub-site of NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board’s wellbeing website, which hosts a variety of information and resources to help people look after themselves and access support.  

The maternity pages have been developed by Rachel Chilver, who works with parents and families to help design and improve maternity services, and midwife Teri Gavin-Jones, both from NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Local Maternity and Neonatal Services (LMNS).

Teri Gavin-Jones, Senior Clinical Lead for SNEE LMNS explained that choices in maternity care have driven the need for the new website: “Supporting a family through pregnancy, birth and new parenthood is very special and, as midwives, we understand that the amount of information can be overwhelming. For parents to be able to choose the care that is right for them they need to understand what’s on offer.  Our website can be used as a trusted source of information.”

Holly Lamb lives in Colchester and is expecting a baby later this year. She said: “The website is simple, friendly and easy to use. I found it really helpful early on in my pregnancy – it fills the gap between finding out you are pregnant to the first midwife appointment. The pregnancy and birth films are incredible. Expectant parents must give them a watch; they offer bite-size essential information – the stuff you really want to know, on a variety of topics.”

Rachel Chilver, Co–production Lead for SNEE LMNS, believes that providing education around choice and options in pregnancy and birth is hugely beneficial to families. She said: “With education comes empowerment, and the confidence for families to navigate their own pregnancy and birth journeys with a strong emphasis on what is personal and important to them. In addition to concise pregnancy and birth resources, the website aims to provide local maternity information about services available across Suffolk and north east Essex, enabling families to become familiar, confident and prepared whilst accessing their maternity care.”

Lisa Nobes, Director of Nursing, NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board said: “I am so pleased that we are now able to launch this website. The resources will answer many common questions and will help with preparations for childbirth and becoming parents.

“Navigating the NHS can sometimes be difficult and there are a lot of things to consider when you find out you’re going to have a baby. This site brings everything you need to know about having a baby and about local maternity services into one place.”

The site will be regularly updated as new information and guidance is issued and work is ongoing to add more information such as planning a pregnancy and an area for health professionals.