Department of Health and Social Care
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NHS launches online one-stop shop for mums-to-be

NHS launches online one-stop shop for mums-to-be

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by The Government News Network on 1 August 2008

The first NHS online maternity guide, offering a wealth of information on pregnancy and birth, at just the click of a mouse, was launched today.

The new Pregnancy Care Planner gives the latest and most comprehensive advice on all aspects of pregnancy, from getting pregnant, early pregnancy, the scans, to the birth, and the most up to date comparative guides to what is on offer at local maternity units.

Health is the most researched subject on the internet, and pregnancy is the most researched health subject. This new service is available on the national NHS website, NHS Choices (http://www.nhs.uk) and the link to the planner is: http://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy

Gwyneth Lewis, the Department of Health Clinical lead for maternity said:

"This new online resource is an excellent way for people to find out more about NHS pregnancy and birth services, and to see what local maternity services can offer them.

"All you need to do is type in your postcode, and choose which units to compare, and you can make up your mind on what services you would like to discuss using with your midwife, based on the best and most up to date information and data.

"This new service offers mums-to-be vital information, helping mother and baby to be healthy, before, during and after the birth.

Pauline Esson, the Head of Midwifery at Lewisham Hospital said:

"The lack of a comprehensive NHS online maternity guide has become marked in recent years.

"Just at the time that people are demanding more and more online information, we haven't had a reliable place to direct people to. I will definitely use this planner as back up to care and will print out the key sections for expectant parents without internet access"

Key features in the Planner

* A personalised NHS Choices pregnancy account which allows users to be sent information of interest to them.

* An online birth plan, update as you go, discuss with your midwifery team, print out and keep with you during the labour.

* Advice on how to best prepare for pregnancy, what is healthy, the best time for conception.

* Information for dads

* Health during pregnancy

* Week by week guide

* The birth and where to have birth.

Case study, for use in media reports

An expectant mother who is helping us launch this new service by keeping a diary.

Mia Brock is a theatrical agent and first time mother who is currently five months pregnant. Based in East Sussex, she doesn't see herself going on maternity leave and plans to work as close to her due date as possible which is scheduled for the end of November. Married for four years, Mia was excited to find out about her pregnancy but experienced the usual concerns about the health of her unborn child. Citing "the unknown, the fear of not knowing what is right or wrong" as one of the worst things about pregnancy, Mia was anxious to find a resource that could prepare her for what was to come and put her mind at ease. She was also interested in an online tool that could support her with organising her birth plan and offer comparative data on facilities and services in her area.

"I think that a product such as this is vital, especially for first time mothers like myself, who don't really know what to expect. This product guides you through, step by step, giving safe, reliable information which is important, as other than your doctor and midwife, these days, people expect to be able to look up everything they need to know on the internet.

About NHS Choices

NHS Choices (http://www.nhs.uk) is the national public website for the NHS providing comprehensive health information guides, accessible content on healthy living, and comparative 'scorecard' information on local health services.

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