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Knitters asked to help support the prevention of hypothermia in babies.

Maternity Hats

George Eliot Hospital Maternity team are seeking kind donations of knitted baby hats to provide valuable protection for new born babies.

Midwives prefer that all babies born at the George Eliot have a little hat when they arrive but want to ensure that every baby has a new hat after they are born.

This initiative is part of a drive to prevent the risk of hypothermia in babies. Babies can get cold really quickly after birth as there is a big drop in temperature between the womb and the outside environment. Babies who get cold may need more medical treatment, a longer stay in hospital, and occasionally need care in the special care baby unit.  The team have introduced a neonatal hypothermia care bundle which includes checking temperatures at various stages after the baby is born and the wearing of knitted hats.

Babies are more prone to developing hypothermia because their bodies' ability to regulate temperature isn't fully developed in the early stages following birth. They can lose body heat quickly and have more difficult generating heat to warm up. Babies have less insulation because they have a thinner layer of fat following birth, so lose heat easily.

Once a baby is born midwives immediately dry the newborn quickly with a clean, warm towel, put a hat on the baby and place the baby on mum’s chest for skin to skin contact. The mother’s body temperature adjusts to keep her baby warm, and the hat stops heat loss from the head. We sometimes use overhead heaters if there is a reason mum can’t put the baby skin-skin. Dads can do this too, and it can happen after any type of birth! We suggest undisturbed skin-skin contact for an hour at least after birth, baby are then weighed and measured, and dressed if parents wish to at this time. Layers of clothing of the correct size, and knitted blankets also keep baby warm.

A simple knitting pattern is listed below as an example.

·         Use double knit wool and 8/10 needles

·         Cast on 50-55 stitches

·         Knit 10-11 cm

·         Decrease by knitting 2 together knit 1 for a row

·         Decrease by knitting 2 together for 1 row

·         Cut thread and sew through stitches like a purse string and sew up seam

Head of midwifery, Alison Talbot said: “We would like to thank everyone who takes the time to knit us little hats for our babies. We receive many lovely donations but want to make sure that all babies are protected from birth.”

If you would like to donate one of your brilliant creations please send them to Delivery Suite, George Eliot Hospital Maternity Building, College Street, Nuneaton, CV10 7DJ. Entrance to the maternity unit is via the Heath End Road entrance.

We are going to feature some of the brilliant donations on our website over the next few months.

Further information

George Eliot Hospital Maternity Unit website and facebook




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