The maternity service for County Durham and Darlington is rolling out a new way of working from this month that will mean mums to be will have the same midwife caring for them in pregnancy, during and after their baby’s birth.

The continuity of carer initiative will be piloted in Stanley, County Durham, where pregnant ladies will have one of a small team of midwives caring for them through every step of their journey. Each lady will also have a second ‘buddy’ midwife.

Amy Matthews, continuity of carer team lead and project midwife, at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, explains, “The project 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. While women will have a single midwife leading their care, their ‘buddy’ midwife will step in when their colleague can’t be with them for whatever reason.

“The new scheme will apply whether the baby is planned to be born in hospital or at home. The team we’ve established – The Infinity Team – is made up of experienced midwives from both a community and hospital background, plus a maternity care assistant, and myself. We already work closely with GP practices in Stanley, some of whom will be involved in the pilot. We’ll also continue working closely with health visitors and, in most cases, will still transfer care to them at between 10-14 days after the baby is born. We’re very excited about the pilot which will, in time, be extended across County Durham and Darlington community midwifery teams – we hope it will bring many benefits for families and their babies.”