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Clinic supporting mums-to-be gains national recognition

Ann-Marie stood in front of a Singleton Hospital sign

A specialist midwife has helped put Swansea Bay on the map for its clinic dedicated to providing wellbeing support to pregnant women.

The maternity wellbeing clinic is run by the health board’s first perinatal mental health specialist midwife, Ann-Marie Thomas.

Its aim is to help reduce any anxiety or distress mums-to-be may be experiencing during their pregnancy.

The clinic, based at Singleton Hospital in Swansea, offers six sessions where the women can talk about any issues or worries they may have.

Women can be referred by a midwife at any point during their pregnancy.

They then learn about different coping strategies, such as mindfulness and self-soothing.

Ann-Marie worked with hospital-based psychologists to produce a pregnancy and wellbeing booklet which offers guidance alongside the sessions.

Since its introduction last year, she has witnessed a noticeable reduction in the women’s distress levels by the end of the sessions.

Now, she has spread the word of the clinic at the UK and Ireland Marcé Society conference in London.

The Society aims to sustain an international perinatal mental health community to promote research and high quality clinical care around the world.

Pictured: Ann-Marie Thomas (right) after receiving poster of the day.

Ann-Marie on stage at the conference

Ann-Marie said: “I decided to submit a poster to display the work of the wellbeing clinic to the conference because it is quite a new approach where midwives are providing a level of psychological support to women.

“I received a reply to say they had accepted it for a poster presentation.

“I went up to London and we had a five-minute slot to talk about the poster, so I spoke about the process of setting up the service and what it does.

“The poster featured a chart illustrating how women had high levels of distress at the beginning but as we went through the sessions, the levels dropped quite considerably.

“The early data has shown us that this intervention is really having an impact.”

Not only did Ann-Marie receive interest from international staff about the clinic but her display was announced as the poster of the day too.

“Everybody seemed to like the presentation and lots of people came over to find out more about the clinic,” she added.

“I spoke to a psychiatrist from Portugal who wanted to introduce something similar and wanted to find out more.

“I was packing up my things to leave and the wellbeing clinic was named as one of two posters of the day.

“It caught me off guard. It was really surreal to come back and be able to show that we’ve put the clinic on the map.

“I felt really proud. The professionals involved with the Marcé Society are people I look up to and respect so to be in the same room and then have the recognition of the clinic and win the poster presentation was surreal.”

It is hoped that by showcasing the clinic and what it provides, that more women will be able to receive the same level of support.

Ann-Marie said: “We have got an amazing service which we have developed and an amazing team around it.

“The psychologists I work with are incredible and the encouragement they have given me is unprecedented.

“But the most important part is the women that come through the service.

“If we can use what we have developed to showcase what can be achieved and other teams introduce it then it means more people are going to get that level of support.”

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