MAMA Academy – Made To Measure
When I first started blogging I was asked to become a MAMA Academy blogging ambassador and I didn’t hesitate to say yes! After battling with ICP during my fourth pregnancy I know only too well how it feels to come close to losing a precious life before you have even had a chance to meet them and see them grow. My pregnancy had a happy ending but not everyone is this blessed. MAMA Academy strives every day to make a difference to this. Losing an unborn child is devastating and they work tirelessly to reduce the number of stillbirths in the UK.
One of their campaigns which they have recently re-launched is their Made To Measure campaign. This involves the very simple and inexpensive method of GAP, Growth Assessment Protocol. This is a programme by the Perinatal Insititute which improves detection of growth restricted babies through the use of customised charts alongside training, protocols and audits. Between 10 – 15% of babies born are growth restricted and the majority of these go undetected. By detecting these babies we hugely increase their chance of survival.
When I was asked to write this blog post by MAMA Academy I knew that at least one of my readers would have experienced a growth restricted baby during their pregnancy. I have met many pregnant mothers or mothers of newborns over the years through both teaching baby massage and just simply by being a mum. I have heard too many times of unthinkable situations where mums have either lost or come close to losing their babies through stillbirth. It happens too often. One of my lovely readers has been brave enough to share her story as if it strikes a chord with just one person and helps to save just one baby then it is worth it. Here is her story……
“During my pregnancy everything seemed absolutely fine. My son Freddie looked to have a bit of a big tummy on some of the scans but nothing unusual. I wasn’t slim so my fundal measurements were all fine and often 2cm above my gestation. I got to 40+10 and was due to be induced the following day and after dinner I realised I hadn’t felt him move for ages. I tried everything possible to get him to move and I couldn’t feel him at all. We rushed to the hospital delivery suite and they checked and his heart was beating, but it was much quicker than usual. After 30mins on the trace his heart rate wasn’t coming down and they still couldn’t get him to respond at all. So I was rushed to theatre and had a category 1 c section under general. When he was born he had to be resuscitated for 5 mins. He was very cold so taken to nicu where he was treated for a week with antibiotics for hypothermia and a couple of infections. He weighed 6lb 8oz so he really wasn’t the smallest baby but his weight was predicted much higher, and they told me the placenta was very small. We were told he was probably growing fine until towards the later stages of pregnancy when he either slowed down or stopped and was classed as having in uterine growth restriction”.
Julia was one of the lucky ones. She realised just in time that something wasn’t right and managed to save her baby. If Julia’s midwife had been using the method of GAP, things need not have got to this critical stage. They could have realised earlier that there was a problem and induced Julia at a much safer stage. All babies are made to measure as mums bodies are unique. Because all babies are different it is important that we take this into account when monitoring babies growth during pregnancy. However some hospitals do not take into account these variations when monitoring fetal growth. GAP does take this into account and it really does make a difference.
MAMA Academy is calling all trusts to adopt the Perinatal Institute’s GAP programme in the hope that stillbirth rates will be reduced by a quarter. It’s estimated that if all trusts adopt GAP, 1000 babies lives will be saved every year!
Thank you so much to Julia for sharing her story. If you would also like to share your story please leave a comment below.