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Unique training package will improve safety in low-risk labour

water birth image

A new national training programme created in the Oxford AHSN region aims to improve safety for low-risk mothers and babies during labour and birth.

The interactive e-learning package is the first to integrate real fetal heart sounds, helping midwives provide safer care when they monitor a baby’s heartbeat in the womb. This approach will benefit tens of thousands of low-risk pregnant women across the country who receive midwife-led care every year – approximately one in three pregnancies.

It is the only training package that assesses competency in intermittent auscultation to meet the requirements of the Saving Babies’ Lives version 2 care bundle for reducing perinatal mortality. Improving knowledge and skills improves safety for mother and baby by ensuring midwives are better able to identify abnormalities in the fetal heart rate pattern and/or changes in the mother’s level of risk and take prompt action.

Christine Harding Eileen Dudley Wendy RandallThis training was the brainchild of consultant midwives Christine Harding (Royal Berkshire, pictured left) and Wendy Randall (Oxford University Hospitals, right). They developed the programme with patient safety and maternity experts at the Oxford AHSN including Eileen Dudley, centre. Health Education England (HEE) provided additional support and now the package, which takes about an hour to complete, is available on the HEE e-LfH hub.

The training has already received national recognition including winning the Contribution to Midwifery Education at The British Journal of Midwifery Practice Awards and judged the top poster submission at the National Maternity and Perinatal Audit/Each Baby Counts conference, both in 2019.

More than 300 people took part in masterclass webinars run by Christine and Wendy in January 2020 which explained more about the intelligent intermittent auscultation (IIA) package.