A midwife from Basildon University Hospital has won a national award for an innovative social media-based pregnancy advice service.
Rebecca Tranter set up Maternity Direct Plus in November 2015 to provide prompt and personal responses from midwives to women who have non-urgent queries about their pregnancy.
The project has been such a success that Rebecca won the British Journal of Midwifery (BJM) 2018 Practice Awards for ‘use of technology in midwifery’.
Rebecca said: “Pregnancy can prompt questions and worries from women, and we wanted them to have somewhere they could turn to for reassurance and an immediate response.
“I wasn’t expecting to win but I’m utterly thrilled. The support I’ve had from my colleagues in the maternity department has been fantastic and I couldn’t have done it without them.”
Maternity Direct Plus is on Facebook and midwives respond to messages between 7am to 9pm every day of the week, except bank holidays, from women in the Basildon and Thurrock area.
As well as posting daily information and advice on topics such as pre-conceptual care, the Maternity Direct Plus midwives answer queries from pregnant women via private messaging.
The service currently has 4,500 followers and responds to up to 30 messages each day. About 70% of queries are dealt with on the spot by the midwives – the rest may be referred to other services such as the woman’s GP or the gynaecology referral unit in the hospital. It is very popular with users, with more than 60 five-star online reviews and a high volume of positive and appreciative feedback.
The BJM judges told Rebecca: “This is a fantastic achievement that recognises the quality and innovative nature of the work you are doing.”
Jennie Ponting, head of midwifery, said: “Rebecca and the midwives involved in running this ground-breaking service are incredibly busy, but they are constantly striving to make our services for pregnant women even better. This prize is a well-deserved accolade for their hard work and I am incredibly proud of them.”