This is Chen. Chen is a new mum with a healthy three-month old boy, called Lucas.
Chen had a good experience of pregnancy. She received high quality antenatal support close to home and was supported by the same midwife throughout pregnancy and after. She received useful lifestyle advice from her midwife, GP and hospital - helping her and Lucas stay healthy during her pregnancy.
At 28 weeks Lucas began moving less than usual. Chen was assessed straight away by an expert team who monitored her closely for any abnormalities. Everything was found to be normal.
Chen researched her birth options online, on a trusted NHS website. She chose to give birth at home, led by her named midwife. A medical team led by an obstetrician was available at the hospital in case they needed extra help. The labour went well without the need for medical intervention.
Chen was well prepared for labour and had support from expert health professionals close to home, and in hospital if she needed it - this gave her great confidence and helped her enjoy her pregnancy and giving birth.
Every woman should feel as informed and confident as Chen before and after having a baby.
Case for change
Not all women in south east London have the same access to high quality maternity care. This is mainly because:
- the number of births in south east London has been growing so the NHS is caring for more women and their babies than ever before
- sometimes women are sent away from their hospital of choice, because maternity units are too busy
- there is a growing proportion of women with complicated health and social care needs who require specialist support
- finding and retaining enough skilled health professionals, such as midwives and obstetricians, has become challenging for the NHS
- We want women to have access to high quality maternity services close to home before and after birth.
- We want women to have better advice and choice on birth options.
- We want to support women to have a normal birth, in the right location for them, with as little medical intervention as possible.
- We think the standard should be midwife-led maternity care for every woman, with consultant-led support at hospital when necessary.
- We want to develop teams of highly trained staff with different skills delivering high quality, kind, safe and effective care.
- We want to offer more lifestyle support to help mother and baby lead happy and healthy lives.
- We want all women to have access to perinatal mental health services.
- We want to include women, mothers and families in the development of maternity programmes. Read here for more information on co-production.