New team supports pregnant women with additional needs

Specialist midwives across Somerset’s maternity services have come together to launch a new service for vulnerable women with additional needs during their pregnancy.

Yeovil Hospital’s Acorn team and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust’s Juniper team have combined to form the Women Requiring Extra Nurturing service – also known as WREN.

The team supports women who are struggling with issues relating to substance or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, have learning needs or are under the care of social services. It can provide support with various issues faced by women and their families, including finance, housing and additional health support.

It also provides specialist care for young parents under the age of 19 throughout their pregnancy, as well as being a vital link to social services and perinatal mental health teams.

Dawn Sherry, joint named midwife for safeguarding across Somerset NHS Foundation Trust and Yeovil District Hospital, said:

“Our two teams at Yeovil and Musgrove Park hospitals have historically done a great job in helping to support and care for vulnerable women and families.

“While the care from our midwives is outstanding, there were occasions when a woman’s care might have been transferred between our maternity units for the delivery of their baby – particularly those who live in areas mid-way between the two units, such as Chard or Ilminster.

“Many of these women are from particularly vulnerable families with unique needs, often distrusting of health professionals and difficult to engage with.

“By joining our two teams together to form the WREN service, these families are getting more consistent care, which could even be the difference between a baby remaining in their mother’s care or increasing the of level of contact allowed following birth.

“It will also help to influence their ongoing life choices, which can only be a positive for mum, baby and wider family.”

Feedback from mums has been positive so far. One mum said: “I just wanted to let you know I’ve been offered a two bed flat, and I’ll hopefully be settled before my baby comes, fingers crossed. Thank you for your help and support with everything.”

Another mum said: “I thought I was going to struggle trusting professionals after my past, but you have helped me realise that professionals aren’t bad and I can ask for advice and help when I need it, so thank you.”

Paula John, the WREN team leader, said:

“As a team of midwives, we feel passionately about offering non-judgemental, accessible and supportive care to the most vulnerable families in Somerset.

“Working together will enable us to be a stronger team and provide a service we can be proud of, and I believe we can consistently provide the high level of care these families need – which is what drives us all.”