George Eliot Hospital’s Maternity and Special Care Baby Units are seeing encouraging results from an education campaign to reduce and prevent hypothermia in newborn babies.
Initial results following the ‘Nine Steps to Keeping your Newborn Baby Warm’ campaign launch in spring 2018 show a significant drop in babies being admitted to the neonatal unit at the George Eliot Hospital because they weren’t warm enough during the first few hours after birth.
Between July and September 2018 only three babies were admitted to the neonatal unit with hypothermia, which was only 15% of all full-term admissions. This is a significant reduction on those admitted during May and June where half of all full-term babies admitted to the neonatal unit were hypothermic.
A number of medical factors can cause hypothermia, but not keeping babies sufficiently warm after birth is a recognised cause.
The campaign was launched at an event during International Kangaroo Care Day on 15th May and rolled out to parents and staff in June. The campaign highlighted the importance of skin-to-skin contact between babies and their parents and also keeping baby with mum during the first few hours of a baby’s life where possible.
The training included a poster and short video explaining nine first steps for both midwives and new parents. A baby hat and printed advice was also shared with parents at their birth preparation classes.
Maternity Matron, Gaynor Armstrong said: “It is fantastic to see the initial response to our campaign and we will continue to reinforce messages to both our staff and families.
“Spring and summer have been hot this year, but babies still need to be kept especially warm during those precious first few hours.
“Parents should remember that they may feel warm in the delivery suite but shouldn’t be tempted to open windows or leave off important warm clothing such as baby hats or cardigans.”
The Nine Steps to Keeping Newborn Babies Warm advice can also be found on the maternity website.
The maternity team have also been sharing the information to midwives based at the hospital and out in the community to reinforce these valuable steps.
Keeping newborn babies warm is one of the initiatives identified by the maternity and neonatal team at the George Eliot Hospital who are taking part in the Maternity and Neonatal Safety Collaborative. This is a three-year programme to support improvements in the quality and safety of maternity and neonatal units across England. The campaign will measure the effect of the initiative and analyse the findings later this year.
Last year the George Eliot Hospital Maternity Unit received over 15,000 baby hats from kind knitters following a Facebook campaign - enough to last for a few years.
Campaign lead SCBU Senior Sister Cheryl Curson (Centre) with Matrons Carla Elliott and Gaynor Armstrong
Kangaroo Care Day is an international initiative to highlight the importance of skin to skin contact between parents and babies, from birth.
Kangaroo Care was a method started in Bogotá, Colombia in 1978 to improve the survival of premature babies in low-resource countries. It has since expanded world-wide and consists of continuous skin to skin contact between the mother and baby, from the time of birth (from the delivery room or intensive, intermediate or basic care,) supports breastfeeding and earlier discharge from hospital.
The aim of the National Maternity and Neonatal Safety Collaborative programme is to reduce the rates of maternal deaths, stillbirths, neonatal deaths and brain injuries that occur during or soon after birth by 20% by 2020 and 50% by 2025.
This national programme requires all NHS trusts (plus independent providers) who provide maternity services in England to make measurable improvements in safety outcomes for women, their babies and families by exchanging ideas and best practice.
The campaign is based on ATAIN - Avoiding Term Admissions into Neonatal Units - recommendations