Leeds Maternity Strategy aims to help new parents

A new manifesto highlighting the importance of acting early to give children a better start in life has been welcomed by Leeds CCGs.

Baby's HealthcareThe 1001 Critical Days Manifesto has just been launched by the Government with all-party support. It highlights the importance of achieving better perinatal mental health. 1001 days refer to the period from conception to age two when a baby’s brain is developing fastest and he or she is most susceptible to forming strong bonds of attachment with a primary carer, which will have a lasting impact and set a child up for the best start in life.

The Manifesto  strongly informs the Maternity Strategy for Leeds, which was developed this year by Leeds South and East Clinical Commissioning Group on behalf of the city’s three CCGs.

Dr Jane Mischenko, Commissioning Lead, Children and Maternity Services, NHS Leeds CCGs said that partners in Leeds are strongly committed to achieving the best possible start for all our children. The recently launched maternity strategy prioritises improving perinatal mental health.

“We know that ensuring the health and wellbeing of babies and very young children will have a positive effect on the rest of their lives and that supporting perinatal mental health is crucial to ensuring parents and their babies bond well. This benefit is felt by Leeds families also makes financial sense.  An absence of good perinatal mental health support results in significant expenditure on services to support he parents, the child and ultimately impacts on future generations,” she said.

“Over the next five years, all staff working with pregnant women will receive evidence based training and feel confident and competent in the early identification and management of mental health and any contributing problems in pregnancy and immediately after. They will recognise the importance of quick intervention, advice and support on the emotional aspects of parenthood, as a preventative action.”

Training will also include understanding the support needs of families who are bereaved as a result of stillbirth, or death of a very young baby and specialist support will be available for these women.

Another priority in the Leeds Maternity Strategy is to ensure parents feel prepared for labour and the arrival of their baby. Key to this will be ensuring increased take-up of the Preparation for Birth and Beyond antenatal programmes offered in Leeds, including those tailored to the needs of parents with more complex or specific needs.

Many changes are already under way that will help improve services, including a significant increase in the numbers of midwives and health visitors, an Infant Mental Health Team to support the development of secure attachment between parents and their babies and the pilot of the Best Beginnings Baby Buddy app, funded by The Big Lottery Fund and endorsed by the Department of Health, which provides parents and parents-to-be with personalised support and guidance.



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One Reply to “Leeds Maternity Strategy aims to help new parents”

  1. Since when was it the job of state agencies to ensure that parents and babies ‘bond well’? How can good bonding even be defined or measured? This is written as if it’s a positive story, but it just sounds like ever more state interference into family life. And what would happen to any parent who wished to decline these services on the basis that how they raise their children and ‘bond’ with them is nobody else’s business?

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