When parents suffer the heartbreak of baby loss it is important that they receive care and support not only over this very difficult time, but also during future pregnancies.
To ensure families receive this additional support a new clinic has been set up at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. The Rainbow Clinic offers specialist antenatal care to women in pregnancy following the loss of a baby due to late miscarriage, stillbirth or early neonatal death.
The need for the clinic became evident as members of the bereavement midwifery team cared for parents after they had sadly lost a baby and in conversations with them during subsequent pregnancy. Parents often spoke about how challenging it was to be pregnant again after losing a baby, saying that it was difficult not to be consumed by anxiety and fear as the pregnancy progressed.
Jess Clasby-Monk, mum to 15 month-old Eli explained: “I lost my baby, Leo, and we were absolutely devastated, but what was even more challenging was when I fell pregnant with Eli. Knowing what I had already been through and fearful of what might happen again was incredibly difficult. At the time there wasn’t a service like the Rainbow Clinic available locally and so my wife and I referred ourselves to Professor Alex Heazell in Manchester. Having the specialist advice and care was so important and it made the pregnancy easier – not easy- but definitely easier.
“To now have this service available in Berkshire is going to make an enormous difference to the parents who need this support.”
The clinic is managed by a multi-disciplinary team which includes consultant obstetrician Jane Siddall, fetal medicine associate and specialist Suruchi Arora, and rainbow specialist midwife Juliette Ward, who between them look after women in their pregnancies from booking until delivery.
Rainbow specialist midwife Juliette Ward said: “Parents have been at the heart of developing this important new clinic. We have worked with them every step of the way to ensure their voices were heard and their stories and experiences were incorporated into the development of the service.
“We are delighted that the clinic is providing much needed care and support, and we are continuing to work with our parents and local groups, such as the Willows Support Group and Maternity Voice Partnership on the development of a number of other initiatives that will help to make pregnancies after the loss of a baby that little bit easier.”
Parents, staff, and representatives from local support groups celebrated the launch at a special lunch. Speaking at the event, Richard Duncan, Chair of Willows Support Group talked of the fear and worry parents can experience and the importance of having the right care and support.
“The primary role of the Willows Support Group is to offer parents, who like me have experienced baby loss, a place to come to share their stories with parents who understand, and to listen to other people’s stories. Often along with the grief is a huge amount of anxiety for future pregnancies; at Willows we can offer a listening ear and support but we cannot provide the same care and reassurance that a clinical specialist can give. It has been a privilege to be a part of this development and I know it will make a significant difference to parents who have gone through traumatic times.”
18 October 2018