No, a man didn’t actually give birth in our training session, but we did learn a lot!

London Ambulance Service’s Consultant Midwife Advisor, Amanda Mansfield talks about maternity training in the Service and how it is improving the care for mums, their partners and babies across London.

The newspaper headline read “Man gives birth at Northwick Park Hospital”. This striking headline was just one story from a recent maternity skills training session we held – as one of our team “gave birth” to help us learn and improve the care we provide.

To mark International Day of the Midwife 2018, we partnered with North West London Hospital NHS Trust to put on a training exercise featuring London Ambulance Service staff and Northwick Park Hospital’s midwifery team.

As part of this midwives and ambulance clinicians shared maternity training together in a range of scenarios, on a beautiful, sunny day.

Clinical team leader Bob was kind enough to volunteer to simulate giving birth – helping our crews in their training, and providing a wonderful photo opportunity!

We had birthing pools and cake – what better way to spend the day?!

Man gives birth at Northwick Park Hospital

Maternity staff from the hospital were offered ambulance rides around the ring road of the hospital – to offer an insight into the challenges our staff are presented with when transferring a patient to hospital.

Shared learning opportunities like these are key to enabling all staff involved in the care of pregnant women and families work seamlessly together. They are also key in understanding the challenges our staff are presented with when transferring a patient to hospital.

However, it’s not only our medics who play an important role in the birthing process. So too do our call handlers. These committed colleagues who answer emergency calls sometimes have to talk families through birth, giving clear and calm instructions to mums and those at the side of mums. It is a beautiful moment when a call handler helps from afar, as it is when midwives or ambulance crews are there in person to ensure a healthy birth.

My motivation is to ensure women who are pregnant get the best care, and that our staff get the best training. Colleagues who work in the emergency services play an extremely important role in looking after women during and after pregnancy – and their loved ones. From the time they call us, and when we provide face to face care, we want to ensure that the experience of giving birth and the care we give is the best it can be, particularly at a very vulnerable time in their life.

We’re not just working on developing the understanding between our staff and maternity staff across London. We are interested in learning from mums, partners and families who have used the Service during their pregnancy. Recently we have started a new workshop called “Whose Shoes.” This is open to all mothers, partners and families who have received help from us to have their baby, designed to help us learn from the experiences of mums – so that we can improve our maternity care. There have been loads of great insights so far!

As my time within the organisation has grown, my learning has been exponential, but at the heart of this learning is ensuring that all mothers, their families and their babies get the best care, and that our staff get the support and training they need to make this happen.