The Information Service for Parents is a joint initiative by the NHS, DH and Department for Education, to make it easier for parents-to-be and mums and dads to access nuggets of advice about pregnancy, birth and beyond.
Tameside Hospitalwas chosen to take part in a pilot which started in February. Parents are asked by a midwife if they wish to sign up to receive free texts or emails tailored to their stage of pregnancy and later their child’s age. So far, more than 450 people have signed up at their booking appointments to receive the information.
In an age when parents-to-be can be bombarded with information, the emails link to trusted, regularly updated sources of NHS-accredited health information. The range of topics include baby's development, preparing for labour, coping with sleepless nights, looking after your own health, choosing childcare, making sure you get the benefits you're entitled to and who's there to support you. The texts or emails link to more than 100 videos, featuring experts giving advice and real mums and dads sharing tips.
Now, Neil Paterson, Department of Health Deputy Director for Maternity Services and Starting Well, is set to visit the hospital next month to see how we achieved our success.
Angela Faulkner,TamesideHospital’s Practice Development Midwife, said: “We have got to find modern ways of getting information to people who know about technology and have a mobile phone and email.
“Years ago we used to give our women lots of different leaflets piecemeal throughout the pregnancy that they either wouldn’t read or would never refer back to again.
“It’s been a successful pilot. We have been providing the DH with lots of feedback and any problems we have had so they can successfully launch it in other areas.
“As midwives we know the parents will get good, trustworthy, unbiased information which is not selling you anything. It’s purely for the good of your health and the baby’s.”
One mum-to-be who signed up to receive the information is Michelle Kingsley, 28, of Ashton, who is 21 weeks pregnant and works as a Maternity Support Worker atTamesideHospital.
Michelle said: “I love getting my emails and texts saying how many weeks to go, what to expect and what baby has been up to. It’s a good way of counting down the time and good to know the information is from a good service.”