Patients & Visitors

Maternity

Birth Reflections

 

Birth Reflections

About the service

The Birth Reflections Service is provided by midwives to allow women or couples to explore their birth experience and give them the opportunity to clarify events. The feedback is used to facilitate positive changes in maternity care by identifying areas we can improve and by recognising what we are doing well.

The service was set up in response to feedback that women who had given birth with us were looking for a greater understanding of their birth and events related to it. It appeared that the best way of addressing this was to provide a midwife-led service that explored and explained birth events in a friendly environment that would encourage women to express how the experience had met their expectations – as a result, Birth Reflections was born.

Birth Reflections was started in January 2009, by Hannah Bailey (RM), who carried out an in-depth assessment of how we could provide a valuable service that could offer women what they were looking for. Since its conception, the service has increased in popularity. We now offer 288 appointments per year, which is a dramatic increase from 2012, when we saw approximately 120 women per year. We consistently hear that women find the service invaluable.

Comments we have received include:

  • "Can’t recommend this service highly enough."
  • "Going through all my notes has really helped me understand/remember what really happened"
  • "It helped me gain closure and confidence"
  • “Was relaxed as well as very informative”
  • “Hats off to all of you”
  • “I can’t put into words how much it has helped”

We found that women could benefit from Birth Reflections for quite some time after delivery, so one of the most important aspects of the service is that there is no time limit imposed. Research does however show that leaving a period of twelve weeks from birth prior to an appointment is beneficial. Women have clearly valued the opportunity to come back when they feel ready. We see women who have had a wide variety of experiences and some make an appointment many years after their birth experience.

It's very clear that Birth Reflections helps many women move forward in a way that contributes to how they enjoy and get the most out of life with their family.

Positive Change

As providers of maternity care, we have gained great benefit from working through birth experiences with women, and have been able to use their feedback, both positive and negative, to help us in working towards providing the best service possible. The feedback from women and their families is conveyed quarterly in a newsletter to all staff working within maternity services.  We pass on positive feedback to individual staff if they are mentioned by name.

As a result of feedback received in Birth Reflections, many positive changes have taken place.  For example, partners are now allowed to stay on the Maternity Wards overnight. This has had a significant positive impact upon women's experience of staying in hospital in early labour and following the birth of their baby.

Another positive change is the provision of Midwife Support Workers in recovery following admission to theatre to assist with feeding and cares. We are also investigating ways of keeping mums and babies together where they may otherwise be separated (for example because of transfer to theatre for removal of placenta or for perineal suturing).

Personal Development

As midwives, we find being part of the service extremely rewarding.  It has made a powerful contribution to the skills we have and how we approach our clinical roles.  By discussing women's experiences we are given a valuable insight into how women perceive their birth experience and consider that we have a better understanding of the factors that can influence a woman's experience, despite the clinical events that we cannot control.

Our contact details

If you would like any further information or to make an appointment, please can contact us on:

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