With around 10,000 pregnancies annually across Suffolk and north east Essex, the ‘Mum & Baby' app aims to ensure consistency of care across the patch, raise awareness of choice, be a trusted single source of information and boost access to services that support good wellbeing.
Features include a library of almost 1,000 free-to-download videos covering a huge range of maternity-focused topics, including maintaining good pre and post-natal mental health, the benefits of breastfeeding and dietary and exercise advice.
The app will help users navigate the various options available to them and offer personalised care plans that can be shared between the new mother and their care provider.
It is designed to complement but not replace existing face-to-face maternity services provided in the community and at Colchester, West Suffolk and Ipswich hospitals, and has been created in collaboration with new mums and NHS maternity staff.
Teri Gavin-Jones, maternity lead for the Suffolk and North East Essex Local Maternity System (LMS), said: “I am really pleased that we’re able to launch an app that will be offering a truly local take on the maternity experience, containing relevant information on services and support in our area.
“It’s important women know what choices they have when giving birth, such as being able to choose where they can give birth, and we want to raise that awareness. Pregnancy is an exciting time and often throws up many questions. The app is packed with useful tools to support good physical and mental wellbeing during and after pregnancy.
“This app isn’t just for women, it’s for partners, carers and family members too. We want the pre and post-natal experience to be as happy as possible for everyone involved and hope that this app will help users achieve that.”
Karen Newbury, head of midwifery at the West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “We’re delighted that families across Suffolk will be able to access this app. We understand how busy life can be when you’re expecting a child and to have all this information at the end of your fingertips is really positive.”
Two local mothers who have used the app during its recent trial say:
Jade O'Reilly, a west Suffolk mum, said: "The 'phone numbers for my local maternity units are to hand which I really like. The whole app is easy to navigate, and I like how I can track appointments on the calendar."
Lisa Ketley, said: "I am having a few health problems with this pregnancy so sometimes need 'phone numbers quickly and the app is fantastic for help with that. It keeps track of my weeks and due date and I can check into my local hospital, but also if I'm out of town in London I can check a hospital near me."
For those people who do not have a smartphone a web version of the app is being developed and will be available on the hospitals' websites later this month. An easy read version will be available on the websites too.
The app is available to download on Apple and Android phones