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Mums Up and Mobile (MUM) on Delivery Suite



From June this year, Maternity Services in Gloucestershire will be leading the way by introducing state-of-the art technology to enable mums in labour at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital’s delivery suite to be up and mobile.   

Midwives on the delivery suite will be working hard to support their Mums in labour to be - Up and Mobile (M.U.M.) as part of a project to offer all women who require continuous monitoring of their baby’s heart rate (for various reasons) the technology which will support them to move around freely in labour.

Traditionally the machines that are used to continuously monitor a baby’s heart rate in labour restrict the mother’s movements because of the cables which attach to the heart rate monitors.  New state-of-the-art technology called telemetry monitoring will be introduced for all women on the delivery suite who require it. This new cordless, wireless monitoring will allow mothers to stand, sit or walk around the unit while in labour. Women can even labour in water with the wireless monitoring in place. 

While the technology itself is not new, the Maternity Service will be the first maternity unit in the UK to offer this form of monitoring to all mothers who require continuous monitoring of their baby’s heart rate including those having births deemed higher risk.

This innovation has been made possible through funding awarded to Gloucestershire Hospitals Maternity Services as part of a Department of Health £10m capital fund for projects to improve maternity care settings across England which has funded a number of the new telemetry machines. The new technology will also support the use of mobile epidurals which have been available at the unit since 2012.

The aim of the project is to keep mothers up and mobile, resulting in countless benefits for both mother and baby including less intervention, shorter labours and a more satisfying experience for women. The machines can be used in water so that women can use birthing pools to full effect while having the reassurance that their babies are being closely monitored by midwives.  Birthing balls and other furniture along with aromatherapy will also support women to achieve as natural a birth as possible.

Assistant Divisional Director of Midwifery Dawn Morrall said:

“Our main aim is to deliver more choice for women in labour, and to ensure that mothers-to-be and their babies benefit from the advantages of being mobile and upright in labour and also to provide the best possible birth experience. We want to promote freedom of movement with the aim of giving women the most natural and pain-free birth they can have.”

As Linda Woods from Philips Healthcare, UK & I, said, “As a major healthcare solutions provider,  our focus is on delivering  innovation which makes a real difference to people’s lives. We are, therefore, delighted to be supporting this forward thinking project which aims to improve the experience of  mums-to-be by adopting innovative solutions and  new ways of working.”

The project forms part of a project which will run for 12 months, assessing the number of ‘normal’ births and the satisfaction of women giving birth whilst using the monitors. It will also record the confidence of midwifery staff and their experiences of the new equipment.