Growing recognition of the urgent need for better care for multiple pregnancies
There’s some very exciting news for our families this week: the DoH has just announced they’ll be funding a huge, new Tamba project. This three-year mission will see Tamba working with targeted maternity units up and down the country. The units targeted have been chosen on the basis of a range of indicators including compliance with the latest clinical guidance, patient safety incidents, stillbirth and neonatal death rates and patient feedback. By the time we’re finished, we hope to see better care for multiple mums and babies across England.
The aim of our project is to help ensure that mums expecting twins, triplets or more are treated in line with the NICE multiple pregnancy guidelines.
Why is this project so important?
These guidelines say every multiple mum should have a named specialist sonographer, obstetrician and midwife, with experience in multiple births. The NICE guidelines also state mums expecting more than one baby should be scanned regularly (at least nine antenatal appointments during their pregnancy, and more often if their babies share a placenta).
We know maternity departments which follow the NICE guidelines have fewer stillbirths, lower C-section rates and happier patients. Despite this, less than 20 per cent of maternity wards follow the NICE guidelines in full. At the same time, multiple birth babies make up just three per cent of all babies born, but 7 per cent of stillbirths and 14 per cent of neonatal deaths. The good news is this new DoH funded project aims to change this.
So what’s the plan?
We’ll be working with national policy makers, hospital trusts and staff at maternity units to help them embed the guidance.
By the time the project is finished, we hope to:
1. Reduce multiple birth stillbirths,
2. Reduce rates of C-sections for mums expecting twins or more
3. Reduce the number of twins, triplets and more admitted to neonatal units,
4. Improve patient satisfaction.
The support from the DoH shows there’s a growing recognition that action is urgently needed to improve outcomes in multiple birth pregnancies. In the summer last year, leading policy makers agreed to include multiple births in their guidelines and inspection criteria, when asked in parliament. More recently NHS England published recommendations for maternity care last month which highlighted the significantly poorer outcomes in multiple pregnancies and the vital importance of ‘providing appropriate care for women pregnant with more than one baby.’
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