Rainbow clinic marks amazing first year
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is marking one year since the launch of its rainbow clinic.
The rainbow clinic, which provides a dedicated antenatal service for pregnant women who have previously experienced baby loss, has supported more than 30 families in its first year.
The term ‘rainbow baby’ refers to a baby who is born to parents who have suffered a stillbirth or neonatal death in a previous pregnancy, which can occur in around 1 in 230 pregnancies.
Families who have benefited from the service celebrated the first anniversary of the clinic alongside staff with a tea party at the hospital on 30 November. Some of the 22 babies born to families, who have been supported by the clinic, were also in attendance.
The clinic provides access to a dedicated midwife, obstetrician and midwife-sonographer who have a detailed understanding of a woman’s previous experiences and develop close relationships with the women under their care.
Dr Beth Gibson, Consultant Obstetrician and Clinical Lead for the Rainbow Clinic, explains: “As part of our consultations with women, we’re able to build up a rich picture of their experiences, identifying any specific stresses or anxieties and most importantly providing a safe space where we can talk openly about the babies they have lost.
“We know that risks associated with pregnancy can be recurrent so being able to understand a woman’s previous pregnancy in detail and establishing a relationship where women feel able to raise any concerns is so important. We work closely with our colleagues at the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre in Manchester and use the latest research to monitor and manage these high-risk pregnancies.”
A pregnancy following loss can be fraught with complex emotions and evidence suggests that services of this type have a significant positive impact on the mental wellbeing of women. The Rainbow Clinic helps to boost confidence as a result of having a direct line of contact with professionals who are familiar with the family’s experiences.
Emma Hardwick, Head of Midwifery at NNUH, added: “Our Rainbow Clinic is the first of its type in the region and provides a vital source of dedicated support for women and their families. Deep understanding of each individual we care for helps to support our clinical decision making but more significantly enables women to feel comfortable, confident and to enjoy their pregnancies.
“If we can be part of bringing light into the lives of families after a previous storm, then that’s a truly wonderful thing.”
The service is the first in the East of England to provide the standard from the international consensus for management of pregnancy subsequent to stillbirth published by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada) 2018. Women can be referred by their midwife or GP to this service.