Have your baby your way
We believe that women, their partners and birth partners should be in the driving seat when it comes to pregnancy, labour, birth and post birth care. That’s why we’re working together to improve maternity services in our area.
As part of the national ‘Better Births’ programme, we want to change how we approach maternity care so that we are more open and inclusive, integrate our services so they’re easier for women to access and work with local people as part of a team, so we know the services we provide are right for the communities we serve.
Find out more about Better Births.
In January this year, went out to Children’s Centres in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, and conducted an online survey, so we could find out more about the experiences women have of maternity services in our area.
Over three months, we listened to 900 women and asked about everything from the experience they had with their GP to the hospital and in the community. This helped us to spot the similarities across the area and identify areas of best practice that we can learn from.
The findings of the survey will also provide a benchmark, and help us to deliver an action plan for improvement which we can monitor as the Local Maternity System plan is delivered.
If you want to find out what people said about their experience in your area – read our survey report
What are we doing?
The Local Maternity Plan focuses nine work streams, which include:
- Neonatal care
- Perinatal Mental Health
- Workforce and culture
- Community Hubs and Estates
- Commissioning for outcomes
Each work stream is focused on improving the services we provide and introducing new ones, so that we can improve the experience of women and families in our area. To make sure that the services we provide reflect the wishes of local people, we have set up a co-production steering group, which is made up of women, birth workers and clinicians from across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes. The group has the opportunity to review all of the work streams and use their experiences to make recommendations and shape services, to improve the experience of women in the future.
Co-production Steering Group
The Co-Production Steering Group is a group made up of public representatives, clinicians, childbirth groups, mental health groups, hospitals, disability groups and Healthwatch from across Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes. Responsible for scrutinising plans and providing recommendations to shape services, the group is focused on ensuring that women can access the same standard of care wherever they live. The Group reports into the Operational Board for the Local Maternity Services programme, and meets quarterly.
You can view the Terms of Reference for this Group here.
You can also read all about our discussion here.
You can read our communication plan here.
Maternity Voice Partnerships
Attached to the Co-Production Steering Group there are three Maternity Voice Partnerships:
- Bedfordshire Maternity Voice Partnership
- Luton Maternity Voice Partnership and;
- Maternity MK.
Run exclusively by volunteers and attended by community and hospital based midwives, obstetricians and commissioners, the Partnerships ensure that the voices and experiences of women are listened to and used to affect change. If you would like to join a Maternity Voice Partnership in your area, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
You are able to choose where you plan to have your maternity care, birth your baby and beyond. There are three maternity units to choose from:
- Luton and Dunstable
- Milton Keynes
Many women opt to book for care with their nearest maternity unit. There are several advantages to making this choice.
- You are more likely to receive care from a small team of midwives, in a location close to home
- You are more likely to get to know one midwife, and one team, which can improve your maternity experience
- You will have less distance to travel in labour
- If you are planning a home birth, you will need to book though your local maternity unit
- Your local midwife team will always provide your postnatal care, and this more likely to be a team you have already met.
Other considerations when making your choice:
- Facilities available ease of parking and public transport
- Family and friends recommendations
- Your own previous experience.
Services available in BLMK:
- Birth centre
- Birthing pools
- Obstetric led care
- Midwife led care
- Home birth
- Consultant cover
- Ultrasonography services
- Antenatal ward
- Antenatal care in the community
- Birth preparation classes
- Local neonatal care
- Postnatal ward
- Postnatal care in the community
- Postnatal care at home
- Perinatal mental health services
- Specialist diabetic clinic
- Infant feeding specialist
It may be your preference to choose to have your baby in another hospital, which might be closer to home.
(Link to find maternity services on www.nhs.uk ) Add a postcode or town into search box,
- Select a provider from the list of results
- Click on the link in the ‘Quality of service’ panel on the bottom right hand side
NHS Choices www.Service-Search/Maternity
There are many other choices for you to make throughout your maternity journey. Your midwife and your wider maternity team will give you the information you need to help you to make these choices.