#NHS70 celebrating… maternity care

The NHS turns 70 on 5 July 2018. Nationally, celebrations are taking place to remind us of the achievements of one of the nation's most loved institutions and appreciate the vital role that we play.

One of the things we are most proud of in North West London is the care that we are providing for women, babies and families. We have done a lot of work talking to new and expecting mums, midwives and clinicians to ensure that our care meets the needs of every individual choosing to give birth in the local area.

Work is on-going to transform our maternity services, paving the way for our ambitions. These include that every women will have one-to-one support from a midwife who co-ordinates all of her care needs, up-to-date and consistent information for all expecting and new mothers and a new maternity app that provides everything a woman needs to help her plan and prepare for giving birth in North West London

Meet Shervon
Shervon Nichols lives in Westminster and gave birth for the first time in November 2017 at St Mary’s Hospital. We caught up with her to find out how she found the care that she received.

Tell us a bit about you 
I’m a senior fashion publicist for a PR agency in London but currently on maternity leave. I have two step daughters, a dog and recently became a first time mum. 

How was your pregnancy? Tell us about your birthing story.
I had an amazing pregnancy. Thankfully I had no problems until the end when the baby’s positioning gave me back pain but other than that I didn’t even have morning sickness.

To prepare myself for labour I practiced hypobirthing to create as much of a stress/pain free environment as I could. My partner and I also met with an amazing local doula who gave us all the stats and facts to prepare us for the day.

My contractions started when I was 11 days overdue and they were on and off for three days. During this time there were several taxi’s booked to go to the birth centre but it wasn’t time. I started to become tired, frustrated and disappointed as the pain went on for days. At this point I still wasn’t close to giving birth so I asked to be sent to the ward. 

When I arrived at the ward I was immediately welcomed by a lovely midwife who was really empathetic and instantly made me feel much better. Although her shift was coming to an end she made sure her replacement was well briefed, she introduced me to her and they both talked me through the next steps. I was so grateful that she was also really kind and caring. 

My waters had broken the day before and so they decided I should now be induced. During this time the consultant wasn’t happy with the baby’s heart rate so I had to have a caesarean. Thanks to the amazing team my baby boy arrived in no time at all, happy and healthy. 

How did you find your antenatal and post natal care?
My antenatal check-ups were always fun days on the calendar to look forward to. They all went well and were very informative. 

My postnatal care was also good, I was fortunate to have a lovely midwife on my ward available if I needed her.

How has your life changed since becoming a mum? 
Life since becoming a mother is fantastic. I’m so happy and feel that I’m serving my main purpose in life. I can’t wait to watch and see him grow. 

Did you feel well prepared? What was your biggest challenge?
I massively prepared for the birth and had everything ready to bring the baby home. The main hurdle for me at the beginning was breast feeding; I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared for this.

What does a ‘typical’ day look like? Have you managed to find a routine?
There is a morning and evening routine going which includes sleep, nappy free time, play time and bath time. However, each day varies as we have a calendar of activities in place. Everything from music classes, baby yoga and massage classes, in addition to lunch with friends or impromptu days at the park (dependent on the weather). 

How are you feeling now? 
The baby sleeps through the night now so I’m no longer sleep deprived and thankfully I am able to have some me time. Also our days are very active so I’m able to get in a lot of exercise through walking everywhere.

I am now also working with the NHS as a part of their maternity voices partnerships (MVP) to help other mother’s having babies in North West London. It feels really good to be contributing to the development of local maternity care.

Many mothers say that motherhood is a journey of learning. What is the most important lesson that you have learnt from being a mother so far?
Always pack spare outfits in the baby bag!

Have you any tips to share with other new mums?
Whatever your experience, someone else is experiencing it too so you’re not alone.

Also every day gets easier and easier. Try and get out of the house at least once a day, even if it’s just a walk to the post box, it’s great for the soul.