11 March 2022

National praise for Sheffield Hospital campaign which encourages pregnant women to access antenatal care early

NHS Trusts across the UK have praised ‘Book Before Ten’ campaign which urges women in the city to see a midwife early in pregnancy.

The campaign which was launched by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust encourages women to book in to see a midwife before reaching 10 weeks of pregnancy to access timely support and reduce risks.

The benefits of seeking timely maternity care include access to information and support, screening mothers for infections, screening baby for any abnormalities, stopping medications which may be unsafe in pregnancy, starting beneficial treatments and to arrange additional investigations. Research also shows that delayed antenatal care is associated with increased maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality.

Dr Rosselyn Ngadze, campaign lead and Obstetrics and Gynaecology Registrar at Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “Booking in for timely antenatal care is really important for the safety of mothers and their baby. Women are able to access a wealth of support which can be lifesaving including smoking cessation, fetal growth monitoring, awareness about baby’s movements, vaccinations, mental health support and much more.”

“We really encourage women to look out for early signs of pregnancy including late periods, tiredness, breast tenderness and take a test as early as possible. If they test positive they should book to see a midwife before 10 weeks to ensure optimum care during pregnancy.”

The campaign which began its pilot in August last year is proving successful and is now being adopted by other Trusts across the UK to help spread the important message.

Dr Shehnaaz Jivraj, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust led an audit of the time in which pregnant women accessed antenatal care which identified the need for the book before 10 campaign.

She said: “The 'Book Before 10' campaign started following research undertaken brought to light that even in Sheffield, where everyone has equal access to maternity care, there were stark differences in the time it took for women to access antenatal care. We are unsure why it is taking some women longer to come forward to make use of services which are available to everyone, and we are therefore really keen to ensure women know the importance of receiving early antenatal care.”

Pregnant women can contact their local GP surgery or Sheffield City Council Family Centre to make an appointment to see a midwife.

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