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With love in the air conception rates soar, NHS figures show

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by James M.
With love in the air conception rates soar, NHS figures show

Valentine’s Day romance leads to a jump in pregnancies, new figures from NHS England show.

With love in the air, there was a 5 percent rise in conceptions around the most romantic day of the year, according to the data gathered to help the NHS provide the best possible care for mums-to-be and their babies.

There were 16,263 babies conceived in the week of Valentine’s Day, up on an average of 15,427 each week, according to 2015 figures that have been analysed for the first time.


Another 16,344 were conceived the following week meaning that the Valentine’s Day is second only to Christmas for the number of women becoming pregnant.

With love in the air conception rates soar, NHS figures show

Image: Jason Pratt

Sarah-Jane Marsh, who leads NHS England’s drive to improve maternity services, said that no matter what point in the year a baby is born there has never been a better time to give birth.

A record 88 percent of new mothers said that they were treated with dignity and respect throughout labour, according to the latest CQC survey which was published last month.

Mums-to-be in England are also increasingly offered more personalised care and a midwife who they know available throughout their use of maternity service, care which they would not previously get on the NHS.

Better care and medical advances also mean that a baby born in 2018 – the NHS 70th anniversary year – can expect to live longer than at any time in the past, with one in three girls set to live past 100.

Sarah-Jane Marsh, Chair of the Maternity Transformation Programme at NHS England, said:

“Love is most definitely in the air at this time of year and it is fantastic to learn that the NHS sees a mini-baby boom nine months later – bringing with it great joy to families across the nation.

“Those of us who work in maternity services are so proud that there has never been a better time to have a baby, with record numbers of new mums saying they have been treated with dignity and respect, with more personalised care on offer and life expectancy at an all-time high.  However we know we have more work to do to ensure personal and safe care are delivered every time – and we are totally committed to doing even better.”

Visit the NHS Choices website for information on pregnancy, including the early signs to look out for and a due date calculator.

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Being a midwife is more than just “delivering babies”

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by Hannah Simpson.
Being a midwife is more than just “delivering babies”

To be a midwife is to be ‘with women’,
And helping them prepare for their tiny little human,
It’s making sure baby’s growing by measuring the bump,
It’s listening to the heart rate, there’s nothing like that little thump.

It’s discussing fetal movements, they’re the most important sign,
It’s reassuring an anxious mum that everything is fine,
It’s running antenatal classes, so parents know what to expect,
But no matter how much you know there’s lessons to be learned in retrospect.


it’s a sudden gush of water, spew and mucous plugs,
It’s women demanding that we get her bloody drugs,
It’s dimmed lighting and relaxation that often does the trick,
It’s sometimes ladies screaming that their husband is a pr*ck.

It’s running round for twelve-hour shifts and the smelly feet,
It’s knowing slimming world won’t approve of all the sweets you eat,
Its putting dad at ease when the baby comes,
it’s watching the magical moment when women become mums.

It’s observing and applauding when everything goes right,
It’s helping women feed in the middle of the night,
It’s supporting parents in their decision for bottle or for breast,
Either way is okay, a happy mum and baby’s best.

It’s being a good listener, or laughing over a cup of tea,
It’s empowering women and measuring bedpans full of pee,
It’s sharing information and putting up IV drips,
It’s the sweeps to bring on labour, with your magic fingertips.

It’s reviewing ctg traces, sometimes trace after trace,
It’s transfers round to labour ward, running at some pace,
It’s staying calm and collected when things don’t go to plan,
And when mums start to doubt themselves it’s telling them ‘you can’.

But sadly it’s not every day things go hunky dory,
If only every day we walked away with a happy story,
But not all births are happy, some angel babies we will mourn,
Their tiny little footprints leave a big impact when they’re born.

It’s the never-ending learning, something new in every day,
Its the stressful shift and the days you swear your hairs are turning grey,
It’s working as a team, things go smoother when you do,
It’s skipping breaks to get work done but squeezing time in for a brew.

It’s hearing the same questions, like ‘when baby comes will I poo?’
It’s the bladder damage because you can’t get to the loo,
It’s buzzers going off left, right and centre,
It’s working with students and trying your best to be a mentor.

It’s walking out the ward an hour later than you should,
It’s going home to your flatmate who gets the brunt of your bad mood,
It’s the food filled tea trolleys whilst everyone else is in their bed,
And when you do get to bed, its jobs still running through your head,
Did I document that on badger? Did I do all that I could,
It’s your colleagues reassuring you not to worry ‘it’s all good’.

It’s not mentioning the ‘Q’ word, you just enjoy it whilst it lasts,
It’s booking annual leave when you see a full moon is forecast,
It’s the shambles of a handover after the most chaotic day,
But it’s rewarding and fulfilling in every single way.

It is loving our job for all the good and the bad,
To be a midwife, we must be bloody mad!
This poem makes it sound like we’re all a bunch of crazies,
But you have to be,
because being a midwife is more than just delivering babies. Being a midwife is more than just “delivering babies”?

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New national role for midwife who supports bereaved parents

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by Chloe Dawson.
New national role for midwife who supports bereaved parents

A midwife University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust has been asked to co-lead a national review which could change the law for bereaved families.

Sam Collinge who is a Midwife and Maternity Bereavement Service Manager at University Hospital in Coventry will shape plans that will mean parents who lose a pregnancy before 24 weeks will be able to choose to register their baby’s death.

The announcement was tweeted by Secretary for State for Health and social care, Jeremy Hunt MP, on Friday (March 23).


Currently, parents whose babies are stillborn after 24 weeks gestation can register the baby's name and receive a certificate of registration of stillbirth.  When a pregnancy ends before 24 weeks gestation however, there is no formal process for parents to legally register the loss.

Bereaved Mum Salma knows all too well the heartbreak of not being able to register her baby’s death.

She has had 20 pregnancy losses, 12 babies she was unable to register because they were born before the 24 weeks threshold.

Salma said: “My babies will always exist to me because I carried them, but a death certificate is official, it says to the world that they existed.   Sam looked after us in the darkest of hours and I cannot think of someone more compassionate than her to lead this, she is the perfect person for this important job.”

Together with Zoe Clark Coates from charity the Mariposa Trust (Saying Goodbye), Sam will also look at how services can be improved for parents who experience a miscarriage and other causes of a baby loss.

Alison Talbot, Head of Midwifery at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, said: “I am thrilled that Sam has been asked to lead this national review.  She provides outstanding care to women and their families during the most devastating time and for her to be chosen to do this is testament to her expertise and experience.”

She will also look at how services can be improved for parents who experience a miscarriage and other causes of baby loss.

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RCN launches member survey on decriminalisation of termination of pregnancy

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by Sarah J.
RCN launches member survey on decriminalisation of termination of pregnancy

The RCN is launching a UK-wide survey of its members on the principle of removing criminal sanctions from termination of pregnancy.

The online survey, which will run from Friday 16 February to Sunday 18 March 2018, will help the RCN to form a position on decriminalisation.

Currently, termination of pregnancy is legal in England, Scotland and Wales, within certain criteria that must be agreed by two doctors. Without this agreement, termination is a criminal offence which could result in a prison sentence. In Northern Ireland, termination of pregnancy is illegal except in very limited cases.


There is growing debate about removing criminal sanctions from termination of pregnancy. Currently, the RCN does not have a position on decriminalisation. The College is committed to developing a position so that it can contribute to the debate.

RCN launches member survey on decriminalisation of termination of pregnancy

The survey will not consult on the wider issues around termination of pregnancy, including the arguments for or against the procedure. The RCN is not calling for any change to gestational limits or changes to the right to conscientious objection by health care professionals.

There are different ways in which termination of pregnancy could be decriminalised but the survey will only focus on the principle of whether or not it should be removed from criminal law.

Commenting on the survey launch, Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:

“Decriminalisation is an important issue for today’s society to consider and one the College is committed to having a position on.

“As the largest nursing organisation in the United Kingdom, we wish to understand the views of our members.

“I encourage all RCN members to complete the survey to help us inform our position.”

You can take part in the survey hereResponses to this survey will not be shared publically and RCN membership numbers will be removed before the results are analysed so that views cannot be attributed to individual members.

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