Wellbeing Wallets Save Babies Lives

Published on: 29/11/2016

For the past year, NHS England have generously been funding the use of 80,000 Wellbeing Wallets within 15 NHS Trusts across the country. The final feedback from this national pilot has been phenomenal. Nearly all of the trusts reported a significant decrease in stillbirth rates whist the wallets were in use. Midwives noticed that women regularly read the information printed on their wallet whilst waiting for appointments and they made women act on concerns rather than ignore them, citing three cases where, acting on the information had undoubtedly saved babies lives.

The most recent Lancet series reported that the UK is making shockingly slow progress in reducing stillbirths due to a culture of 'fatalism, taboo and stigma'. A recent national audit by MBRRACE of term stillbirths identified that an inadequate response to a history of reduced fetal movements contributed to almost 25% of stillbirths. In 2015, the stillbirth priority setting partnership asked “Would empowering women to know about relevant evidence-based signs and symptoms and raise them with healthcare professionals reduce stillbirth?”

To address this question, MAMA Academy, a pregnancy charity, created Wellbeing Wallets to assist expectant mothers in discussing key messages with midwives and seek help earlier as part of a national stillbirth reduction strategy. Whilst the wallets are designed to protect mother’s antenatal notes, they are also printed front and back with easy to read health messages in line with Sands and DH safer pregnancy messaging. The main maternity phone number can be written on the wallet giving mothers permission to call if they notice any problematic symptoms. Midwives give the wallet to mothers with their notes at their first booking appointment. Now that the pilot scheme has ended, the wallets are being distributed within 30 trusts nationwide including 9 in London.

Feedback received from St.Helen's & Knowsley NHS Trust:
“A woman rang the department regarding a concern with fetal movements. She had read the information on the wallet and realised that she should ring the department and NOT WAIT. She attended the unit and required immediate delivery. Outcome – Good.”

“Young Mum who had a vaginal bleed at 36 weeks rang and advised a Midwife that “the wallet said to call you immediately if I have a bleed, so I am” History was taken and mum advised to attend immediately. On arrival continued to bleed and emergency C-Section performed. Baby in good condition at birth.”

Feedback received from Kettering General:
“One mum who self-referred to hospital with fetal movement concerns and had an immediate emergency C-Section due to an abnormal CTG, reported that she had rung because she had been promoted by the message on her wallet. She felt she may not have done so if she didn’t have the constant reminder in front of her.”

Feedback received from Hull and East Yorkshire:
“One woman presented with a fever and explained that she had read the information on her Mama wallet of “when I should call a midwife”. The woman did have an infection and received appropriate treatment”.

Feedback received from Lewisham and Greenwich:
“One woman noticed the signs of things not going well from the information on the wallet, this prompted her to attend labour ward and she had pre-eclampsia”.

Since the findings of this NHS England pilot were published last month, the London Strategic Clinical Network has written to all 19 London Trusts recommending wallet distribution to help reduce stillbirth rates.

In order to save more babies lives, MAMA Academy is now seeking sponsors to help fund the wallets for more NHS Trusts around the UK.

If you would like to receive a free sample to present to your management team, please email contact@mamaacademy.org.uk for more information including prices and availability.