Most doctors have a bugbear or something that makes them cringe. Some of these can be most unexpected though usually they are things like toenails or eyes or something. Mine is sunburn. It makes me so ill that nursing staff direct me away from any cases (or even any parents attending with a child who themselves have sunburn. I feel nauseous, go pale and then faint.
Some of that is my own memories of my very Scottish skin turning salmon pink after alabaster and very quickly back again. Some of it is knowing the damage it does (I worked for 3 years in Oz and suncare was indoctrinated. I also developed temporary wrinkles which later vanished – phew!). It is 100% preventable and families often have no idea just how dangerous it is and that one sunburn doubles the risk of skin cancer and this only increases with each additional burn.
We might think that children look ‘healthy’ with a suntan and a crop of freckles. While they well might, each and every freckle is a marker of sun damage. The earlier children’s delicate skin is exposed to the sun, the more damage it does and they the longer they live with that damage. Cancer (melanoma in the case of skin) is caused primarily by how much damage (how severe and how often) and how long it’s been present. We used to see skin cancers in older people. It’s more and more common to see it in young women particularly. Sunbeds are certainly a part of this and there is at least some regulation of the industry now. Skin cancer occurs when tumour cells grow quickly – the body generally suppresses these. The more there are the harder that is.
The science of suncare.
You don’t even need a ’sunny’ day to get damage. 80% of harmful rays go straight through clouds. There are 2 types of ultraviolet rays (natural energy from the sun) which cause damage. You can’t see them – your skin sure can feel them. Delicate childrens’ (especially baby skin) is even more sat risk. We buy special gentle bubble baths and creams and then encourage sun exposure! We know how delicate and sensitive their skin is!
UVA and UVB are the two main wavelengths involved. UVA is said to largely cause ageing, where UVB largely causes burning. SPF numbers are based on how much longer we can sit in the sun before burning vs with no sunscreen. They are a multiple of the amount of time it would take with no sunscreen. U|VA causes tanning and when sunscreen offers protection against them they are called ‘broad-spectrum’. Originally sunscreen only protected against UVB. They are less intense though they penetrate more deeply to the lowest layer of the skin where skin cancers start. Tanning is the body’s attempt to protect itself from any more damage – not really such a sign of health!
Those years in Oz drummed good sun protection care into me. We have good advice here in the uk – it isn’t presented in such an accessible way though. They have Sid who used to Slip, Slop, Slap. He has got smarter now and now it’s Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide.
So what are these?
SLIP: Slip on some clothes. Ideally densely woven (some will have an SPF on them). Have a collar and longer arms and legs if possible.
SLOP: Slop own sunscreen. SPF 30+ in the UK (50+ in Oz) Broad spectrum and particularly focusing on areas often missed – backs of ears, backs of necks, behind knees. It should be applied 30 mins before going into the sun and allowed to dry in. It should be reapplied frequently and particularly after swimming
SLAP: Slap on a hat. A wide brimmed one which covers the face and neck. Some hats even have neck extensions to protect the neck.
SEEK: Seek some shade – especially in the middle of the day. Have lunch in the shade for example.
SLIDE: Slide on some shades. These should fully cover they eyes and have UV protection.
On top of this advice, we should remember that babies under 6 months should not be in direct sunlight and that in the middle of the day the sun is much stronger and where possible should be avoided.
Prevention is ALWAYS better than cure so don’t panic, just start now.
Download Juno on IOS or Android and talk to one of our specialists for more sun safety advice.
Have you ever wondered what the Placenta is and what it does?
If you had a baby before or have attended a birth you might have been aware of a midwife in the corner carefully examining the placenta and membranes. Perhaps your midwife invited you or your partner to examine it with her?
It may be that you chose not to look then, however, you might be fascinated by what you see.
What Does the Placenta Look Like?
The word placenta derives from the Latin for cake and the Greek for “flat or slab-like” and this is how it appears. Placentas vary but they are approximately the size of a dinner plate. Roughly 15 – 20 cm in diameter, 2 – 3 cm in thickness, and 500g in weight.
If you look at it immediately following birth, you will see that it has two surfaces, a fetal surface and a maternal surface. The fetal surface or baby’s surface is smooth, shiny and blue/purple in colour and covered in a double layer of membranes. The umbilical cord is inserted into it (more about the cord and insertion types in a moment). The maternal surface has a cobblestone appearance due to the cotyledons (or lobes of the placenta) and looks like raw liver. It may sound gross, but as a piece of engineering, it is miraculous.
What Does the Placenta Do?
For nine months your baby has been swimming in a pool of amniotic fluid, warm and safe inside your womb. What maintains the pregnancy? How does your baby manage to take in oxygen? Their lungs were not operating yet. How do they manage to receive nutrients and how do they dispose of waste like carbon dioxide? The answer is the temporary organ called the placenta and you and your baby’s co-operation at a cellular level.
How it Works on the Mother’s Side.
The maternal side of the placenta or basal plate which is made of the mother’s tissue allows for maternal blood vessels such as arteries and veins to create a lake of blood rich in oxygen and nutrients. This is easily available to your baby. However, there is no direct contact between maternal and fetal blood vessels due to a semipermeable layer of tissue in the placenta called the placental barrier.
This barrier acts as a selective membrane to substances passing from maternal to fetal blood. It is a protection mechanism to keep both circulation systems separate. However, certain drugs can cross this barrier and affect your baby which is why morphine injections, for instance, are not given if birth is imminent.
How it Works on the Baby’s Side.
To explain what is happening it is easiest to start with the umbilical cord. The umbilical cord has two veins and one artery within it, all encased in a jelly-like substance called Wharton’s Jelly. When the cord is cut, all three vessels are visible and it resembles a smile emoticon ☺. The large vein forming the lips at the bottom and the two smaller arteries forming the eyes.
If you have never seen umbilical cords, I recommend you look at photography sites online showing their intricate spirals and colours (shades of blue and creamy white). One of my favourite births was when a baby girl emerged with her hand holding onto her cord. She seemed particularly relaxed. Nowadays it is common practice to allow the cord to stop pulsing before it is cut. Your midwife will ask you if you wish this as part of your Birth Plan.
The whole placenta looks like a drawing of the Tree of Life on the baby’s side of the surface. If you trace the cord back from your baby’s umbilicus (belly button) you will discover that the three vessels within the umbilical cord eventually branch out and split up inside the chorionic plate (or baby’s placental tissue) creating a tree-like network of branches and roots that protrude into the maternal lake of blood described above. This allows for your baby to receive oxygen and nutrients from you and for your system to take away carbon dioxide on behalf of your baby. Cool isn’t it?
The Placental Examination or What Your Midwife is checking for?
Firstly, the appearance and size of the placenta which indicates how well the placenta has been functioning. We also check that there is no unusual smell and that it is in good condition. A bad smell may indicate an infection has been present and perhaps that you and or your baby may need antibiotics.
We check that there are two membranes present. You may see us rubbing the membranes between our gloved fingers or peeling the membranes back and we check that there are no ragged edges on the maternal side of the placenta. Nor any missing lobes or (cotyledons).
If the membranes or part of the placenta is left inside, this may lead to infection or make it difficult for the uterus to contract properly and stop the bleeding from your womb. Midwives also check the umbilical cord to ensure the three blood vessels described above are present.
We also note how and where the cord is inserted and if there have been any knots in the cord. The umbilical cord insertion site to the placenta can be described as central, lateral, marginal (battledore) and velamentous insertions (where the cord is inserted into the membranes instead of the placenta). Central and lateral insertions are the most common types.
All the findings are documented and you may see the following written on your discharge paperwork – “placenta and membranes complete” or “placenta and membranes doubtful”. This information is useful for your GP or Community Midwife in helping to assess your risk for excessive postnatal bleeding and or infection.
How long can it take for me to deliver my Placenta?
Delivery times for the placenta vary, but if you are having a natural birth usually you will deliver your placenta within an hour. If your bleeding is heavy or if you have decided to have an oxytocin injection (a drug to help your uterus contract and shear away the placenta) then delivery of the placenta can take 5 or 10 minutes. Your midwife will discuss delivery options with you as part of your birth plan.
Cutting the Umbilical Cord
Some parents wish to cut the cord themselves, but be warned the cord can feel quite resistant to cut through. Imagine cutting into a thick rubber band with a none too sharp scissors. Parents usually look at me horrified when I describe the sensation of cutting the cord as “being chewy”. I promise no midwife to my knowledge has ever yet bitten into one.
Occasionally, parents opt for a “Lotus birth” where the umbilical cord is left uncut after childbirth. This means the baby remains attached to the placenta until the cord naturally separates at the belly button. This usually happens within 3–10 to days after delivery. It is often done to honour the shared life between baby and placenta.
Cultural Beliefs and Customs
Many societies give particular significance to the placenta, seeing it as a twin, grandparent or guardian to the newborn. In the Maori tradition, the word “Whenua” is used for both the placenta and land. The placenta is buried on tribal land. It is thought that the placenta creates a bond between the child and tribe. Often a tree, signifying new life, is planted during the ceremony and its burial is viewed as a gift to Mother Earth. In Malay culture following birth, a ritual cleansing of the placenta and the umbilical cord takes place. Both of these are then buried in the doorway of the familial home, alongside books and pencils to encourage the child to be studious.
Placentophagy (eating part or all of the placenta) became popular in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s. Although there is little clinical support for doing this practice, traditional Chinese medicine believes that ingesting the placenta after birth ensures a quick recovery, improved lactation, and prevents postnatal depression. The first recorded practice of this took place 2000 years ago in China.
Perhaps you feel differently about the placenta now? In any case, you should realise that the placenta belongs to you and that how you choose to dispose of it is entirely up to you.
It’s a magical experience seeing your baby grow and develop, watching as they learn to form words and begin to crawl and walk. It’s less magical when their temperature is running high and you’re online frantically searching for solutions.
A fever in a child at any age can be scary for a caregiver. High temperatures are very common in young children and will usually pass within 3 to 4 days – most can be safely managed at home.
However, there are times when they signal the need for urgent medical attention. It’s important to know the facts and what to do in different situations.
Caring for your child at home.
If your child has a high temperature, it is possible to care for them yourself by keeping them at home if appropriate, giving them plenty of fluids, food if they want it, and checking on them regularly in the night.
Depending on their age you can give them paracetamol if they’re distressed or unwell but you should be cautious. Don’t give paracetamol to your child if they are under 2 months and check the NHS website for other age and health condition restrictions.
It may be tempting to undress your child or sponge them down to try and cool their fever but you should avoid this – a high temperature is simply a natural and healthy response to an infection. Covering them up in layers upon layers of clothes or bedclothes, even if they’re shivering, also isn’t effective.
When to seek medical advice.
However, there are times when it’s important to seek outside medical help. You should call 111 or your GP surgery if:
- Your child is under 3 months old and has a temperature higher than 38°C.
- They are between 3 to 6 months old and have a temperature of 39°C or higher (or you think they have a high temperature).
- They have had a high temperature for 5 days or more.
- Your child has a high temperature that does not come down with paracetamol.
- You should also get in contact if they appear dehydrated (for example, if their nappies aren’t very wet, they appear to have sunken eyes or you can’t see any tears when they’re crying), they don’t want to eat, or aren’t their usual self.
When to go to A&E.
It’s time to call 999 or go to A&E if your child displays any of the following signs: they have a fit, have a stiff neck, are bothered by the light, find it hard to breathe (and suck their stomach in under their ribs), have unusually cold hands and feet, have blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue, are drowsy and hard to wake, are extremely agitated (they don’t stop crying) or are confused, have a weak, high-pitched cry unlike their normal cry, aren’t responding as they usually do, or aren’t interested in feeding or normal activities.
You should especially look out for a rash that doesn’t fade after applying pressure. Check this by doing a ‘glass test’ – press a clear glass firmly against your child’s skin and see if the spots or rash fade after you stop. If they don’t, it’s time to seek urgent medical attention.
For more medical advice on fevers and other childhood conditions, speak to a paediatrician now and download Juno on IOS or Android.
On Wednesday May 12th, Juno’s Paediatric service will become a paid subscription costing £9.99 per month. Before you flip the table or throw your phone into a hedge, let us explain what the changes are, why we are making them and how it will improve your service with Juno.
What are the changes?
From Wednesday May 12th, parents will need to subscribe £9.99 a month to start a conversation and share a concern with one of our paediatricians. However, you will now be able to access our midwives AND paediatricians with the same, simple subscription. This means we can offer the very best advice and support throughout your pregnancy and into parenthood.
All existing midwifery subscribers:
You can now speak to a paediatrician with the same subscription and will not be prompted to resubscribe. Your subscription now covers both specialists. Bonus!
All existing subscribers without a midwifery subscription:
All your existing conversations with a paediatrician will remain free.
If you start a new conversation or set up a child profile, you will have to subscribe.
If you choose to subscribe, you will still get a free two-week trial.
What hasn’t changed?
The app remains completely free to download.
You will not be asked to subscribe until you have created a bump or child profile.
If you subscribe you will still get a free two-week trial.
Why are the prices changing?
Good question. The answer is – Juno has BIG plans for the future. And as we all know from life, big plans require a bit more money. With our new subscription plan we will reinvest it into our service, making it more effective and efficient.
What does this mean for you, the parent, though?
We are going to make Juno more comprehensive, opening up the doors to potential 24hr, 7 days a week service. It is proven that anxiety hits us most during the night and we are working hard to alleviate that issue.
We also plan to offer more for every parent and parent-to-be:
More practical and personal medical content straight from our specialists.
One-on-one consultations to address and pre-empt common childhood concerns.
Different ways to interact with our specialist: video, zoom sessions, regular check-ins, etc.
Watch this space for updates as there will be plenty to come to improve your Juno journey soon. Get in touch if you have any ideas to change your experience for the better, we would love to hear from you.
And thank you for taking care with Juno.
You can download Juno now for IOS or Android and start your two week-free trial.
We might think hay fever is fairly benign and boring. It can be. It can also cause misery to around a quarter of us every Spring and Summer; affecting sleep, daytime performance and exams on top of the unpleasant symptoms. It can also cause life-threatening asthma in those who have both hay fever and asthma, particularly in thunderstorms (very small particles are in the air at our level and trigger it) and the additional risk of COVID in this mix means that we must be on guard for those with both conditions, whatever their age.
The numbers have trebled in the last 20 years. Around 25% of adults are said to suffer from hay fever and up to 15% of children. Often it can be overlooked in children, the symptoms mistaken for a cold. However, unlike with a cold, hay fever won’t cause a raised temperature and will last a lot longer – weeks or months rather than a few days. Sufferers tend to be affected at roughly the same time every year, and other rarer causes include certain medications or thyroid disease. It’s usually worth trying an antihistamine if you suspect hay fever which can then help with the diagnosis.
Skin prick tests can be helpful and IgE levels to specific pollens can help in diagnosis – a raised total IgE suggests allergy of some sort, while not specific.
We’re just heading into the start of the hay fever season 2021. Its proper name is Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis (swelling and inflammation in the nose caused by allergy) and it can affect the eyes, throat, ears and head. So there’s one overall cause encompassing a wide group of smaller causes – pollen and all its subtypes. Birch tree pollen is the most allergic (peaking in April) and grass the most common (peaking around June/July).
How does it start?
You generally inherit an allergic (atopic) tendency from a parent who is also affected, they may have eczema or asthma rather than hay fever. This makes you susceptible though you may never develop it. Pollen though is out there in the air – if you go outside between March and October you’ll be exposed.
When you’re first exposed, nothing outwardly happens. The cells in your mouth, nose, throat and eyes are busy getting sensitised inside you. When they encounter the same pollen (allergen) again, special allergy cells called mast cells are activated, burst and leak all sorts of chemicals leading to the allergic response we see with the runny eyes and nose. The fastest and biggest volume of these is histamine, hence treatment with antihistamines. It’s only one of the chemicals and the others work slower affecting things like sleep and a reduced sense of smell for example.
So essentially if you’ve got it, you’re likely to keep getting it. You can’t completely avoid pollen, though you can massively minimise your exposure to it. It usually starts in childhood, peaks in the teens and can reduce as we go into adulthood. It may even disappear.
What can I do?
Weather forecasting, calendars and clocks are your friend. The Met Office produces predicted pollen calendars for each type of pollen – not just tree, grass, weeds or moulds (and they come in that order across the year), they show us the range for ash, birch and every other pollen. They can do this because pollens are released when the plants or trees are growing and these vary a bit year on year with changeable weather. You can roughly predict which you’re allergic to from when you’re most affected. If you’re worst in April, Ash and Birch are the likely suspects. The Met Office also provides a pollen count via the weather forecasts, which will generally be higher on hot and humid days. Thunderstorms cause pollen to break up into very small particles which can easily get deep into the lungs and are low down in the atmosphere and very concentrated.
Pollen counts vary greatly across the day. The pollen counts are highest from 7-9am as pollen is released from plants and trees and 5-7pm as the air cools and the pollen sinks down again. Try to stay inside at those times with windows closed. At least try and stay away from woodland, parks, grassed or rural areas. Bring washing inside before 5pm. Try and plan outdoor activities in the middle of the day when the pollen has risen up a bit.
Keep down pollen in your environment.
We know that pollen is in the air and constantly circulating and settling. Frequent hoovering and damp dusting help keep pollen low in the house. Keeping windows closed helps as does a pollen HEPA filter in the hoover or air filter. Pollen filters in the car and not circulating air from outside help. Wipe pets with a damp cloth as they can carry pollen on their fur.
Other environmental factors can make hay fever (and asthma) worse, such as smoking, exhaust fumes and air pollution. Bush fires in Australia hugely increase cases and their severity. Coastal breezes wash pollen inland so coast-dwellers tend to have fewer and less severe symptoms.
Minimise pollen on yourself.
The thing I’ve found most effective was close-fitting wraparound sunglasses. It is also effective to change outdoor clothes as soon as you get home (not leave them and their pollen lying around!) and shower and wash your hair, or at least wash your face. It is virtually indestructible on dry clothes, so water helps reduce the spread.
Another great tip is putting vaseline around the nostrils which traps a lot of pollen preventing it getting in. Salt water sprays can flush out pollens as well.
Prepare – treat BEFORE you get the symptoms.
As soon as you get symptoms the irritation is already well-established and it’s a challenge to get on top of it. Take antihistamines or steroid nasal inhalers at least two weeks before past experience leads you to expect symptoms. Antihistamines best treat the histamine symptoms (itching and runny noses) and milder cases, and are easily available cheaply over the counter.
Nasal steroid sprays can help relieve nasal congestion and sinus swelling. Combinations of antihistamines and steroid spray are becoming available.
Eye drops (cromoglycate on prescription) can help runny eyes since constant rubbing can cause significant swelling of the white of the eyes.
Nasal decongestants should only be used for a few days at a time as they cause rebound congestion when stopped (you end up worse off than before).
If you have asthma always carry your reliever – symptoms can become very serious very quickly. Take your preventer regularly, and treat hay fever symptoms aggressively as this can make serious asthma attacks more common.
Colds, hay fever, COVID and weather can all combine to make asthmatics very sick very quickly.
These aren’t working or it’s getting worse.
See your GP to look at your whole history and check for other causes or arrange testing.
If medications aren’t controlling it a specialist referral for medication optimisation or desensitisation treatment may help. Desensitisation is repeated injections of your pollen trigger under the skin in increasing doses to overcome the allergic response. Very new developments are looking at putting the allergy under the tongue rather than skin.
Unfortunately, some sufferers will become sensitised to more and more pollens or other allergens outside the hay fever season and then have a full year-round version resulting in perennial allergic rhinitis – no let up all year.
Need more allergy advice? Juno is here to help. Download Juno for IOS or Android and start a conversation now.
Does your little one suffer from eczema? Well as it turns out, around one in five children do. The dry, itchy skin can make them miserable and as a parent you just want to make it go away. Whilst there is no definitive cure for eczema, as it differs person by person, there are many ways to help treat and soothe the itch.
As always, our specialists are here to help. Here are their best steps to prevent and soothe flare ups and manage your child’s eczema:
After more tailored advice? Download Juno on IOS or Android now and chat to a specialist in minutes.
What does a birthplace choice actually mean? From the very start of pregnancy your midwife will ask you what your preferences are. For most women at the start of pregnancy the choice between home, a birth centre and hospital birth is like trying to choose what type of sushi you want. Over the years providing midwifery care, I have often been asked:
“If I choose to birth in a Hospital birth will a doctor look after me? Is it safer?”
“If I want an epidural in a birth centre does it mean I can’t have one?”
“What do all these options even mean?”
Choices, choices, choices.
As midwives we ask the question so thoughtlessly, but on the other side women and their partners feel they are signing a 24 month contract with a dodgy mobile phone company! It is important to remember no matter what choices are made, no one will hold you to them if things are different on the day. For this reason you should view your choices as a wish list. Unfortunately, when pregnant, everyone around you suddenly seems to be a professor in midwifery.
They will feel very much obliged to give their stance on how pregnancy, birth and beyond should be. It is so essential to make the decisions based on your own values that are right for you and your family. There is no need to base judgements on someone else’s experience or perceptions of safety. No pregnancy, birth or baby is the same and your birth journey is unique to you.
Your birth. Your way.
As much as birth is a physiological event, it is just as much psychological – like running a marathon. Therefore, being comfortable in your surroundings is very important as it often will impact on how a labour will progress. It is well documented that fear of labour will inhibit the pregnancy hormones needed to sustain contractions. This is why focusing on relaxation in labour is vital for your pregnancy. There can be factors beyond control which will determine where a birthplace may occur – even with best laid plans.
Hypnobirthing is a prove practise to get you relaxed no matter where, what or how your birth will be. There are several factors that may influence your decision of where to give birth, personal to you. As Juno Midwives, we are here to support and help you to make the best choice for you. Here are some facts to aid you in your decision making, no matter what stage of pregnancy you are at.
Planned home birth is often viewed as controversial as it opposes the common belief and assumption that it is safer to give birth in hospital. However, research shows women wanting a home birth in low risk pregnancies is safer than hospital births. It also has considerable benefits for both mother and baby: greater satisfaction from the birth, lower intervention rates, better emotional and psychological well-being, aiding maternal and child bonding. For home births to be deemed as safe, careful planning is needed ideally between 34-36 weeks of pregnancy. Home births have the added benefits of having the midwife attend to you, in fact two midwives at the birth in your own environment with all the safety equipment required for a birth…Just make sure to cover the beige carpet!
Birth centres share the same principle as home births and they can be found across the country as either standalone units or as part of a maternity unit. These units are intended for uncomplicated pregnancies and are attended by midwives only. They aim to create a relaxed ‘home from home’ environment, often designed to have large birth pools. And like home births, women who labour in a midwifery led unit are more likely to have a normal birth with less intervention. Birth centres, otherwise known as midwife led units, can provide the bridge between home birth and obstetric led units. Although, it is important to note if either a home birth or birth centre is no longer suitable in pregnancy or in labour, referral is made to the hospital. The reason for this may include long labour, bleeding, requesting an epidural etc.
Hospital births may also be referred to as labour wards or a delivery suite. Like supermarket lipstick and designer lipstick, whatever the name – they all do the same thing! During a hospital birth you will be cared for by midwives, whilst an obstetric and anaesthetic team is on hand for women who may have pregnancy or non-pregnancy complications and women requesting epidural in labour.
If there is one message to take with you, keep calm and relax. Midwives and obstetric teams are here to be in partnership with you to ensure you and your birth partner have the best experience possible. This is why Juno provides such an important service. If you do have any questions, just ask Juno to point you in the right direction and find the best birthplace for you.
Download Juno for IOS or Android now.
Juno is nothing without the healthcare professionals that operate it. It’s time to meet the midwives that make our midwifery service so special. Thanks to their contributions to Juno, they can ensure that every parent-to-be gets the guidance they need, when they need it. Each of our midwives are proud supporters of our healthcare system, with many also working with the NHS. By using Juno, they can release the pressure on it and make sure it is protected. They champion the importance of midwifery and allow new parents the possibility of accessing prenatal advice, wherever they are. I think it’s fair to say – we love our midwives!
Midwifery has never been more relevant than in this moment. In a time when restrictions hinder our access to health information, online support has never been more vital. Pregnancy can unearth a host of dizzying questions that can be anxiety inducing for any mother. Whether it’s a niggling query that keeps you up at night or a new pressing concern, Juno’s midwifery team is here to help. Each of our expert midwives have different skills and experience to give the best range of advice. This includes a variety of expertise in birthing styles, from a range of settings (hospital, community, etc).
Meet the team
Midwifery on Juno may have only just begun, but we have already seen many expectant mums turn to our midwives for support. It already appears that our service comes at a crucial moment for healthcare and our midwives think it’s an important step for midwifery. Here is an introduction to our excellent team of midwives and the variety of experience they boast.
Experience midwifery in moments and download Juno now on IOS or Android.
We are living in a constantly evolving world with regards to technology, social media and people looking for support online. As a midwife, I have seen over the past few years how important it is for us to have a presence online so that we can offer online medical support and reassurance when people need it most. I’ve noticed it even more since the start of the Pandemic.
All services within the NHS are overstretched due to Covid-19, meaning you are now seeing more and more women unable to access maternity care when they need it the most. Which means it is perfect timing to find alternative routes to access professional advice alongside your normal maternity care.
Finding the right medical advice online.
I came across an article from the BBC recently about maternity services and how they are suffering during the pandemic. You can read it here. Women are struggling to access the care that they need, during the most important time of their lives. Our maternity services were stretched prior to the pandemic, so it is no surprise to see women turning to facebook groups for support from other mothers. Whilst having this support network is important, it is also imperative to note that this is not professional advice. This means women are potentially being given the wrong advice when looking for support from friends, family and social media groups.
By creating Juno – we will be able to give vital support and advice via an app so that women and parents-to-be can choose to access medical advice in a quick, safe way. Not only that, it also gives us as midwives a voice online to be able to support women. In a tech-heavy world, where everyone picks up their phone to google symptoms, I believe this is vital support that we need to implement nationally for everyone in pregnancy, postnatally and beyond.
The importance of midwifery.
Women are missing face-to-face appointments with their midwives, consultants and some are going months without seeing a healthcare professional because of the pandemic. As a midwife, I know how much this will increase anxiety levels for women and their families. If we can provide an online service like Juno to run alongside NHS care, this will help reassure and alleviate anxieties in pregnancy. I absolutely love being a midwife and caring for women and families. We become midwives because of our compassion and how passionate we are about maternity care. This is why we’ve created a service to offer online support as much as we possibly can. With lots of medical services now offering online consultations and advice – it’s about time midwives had an online presence too!
During pregnancy, you have so many questions that need answering and that’s what we are here for. Early pregnancy, when you haven’t met your midwife yet, is the most common – as you have so many symptoms in the first trimester and it is nice to be able to access reassurance if you need it. We also find that a lot of women come to us between 16-25 weeks of pregnancy. You normally don’t see a midwife during this time and there are so many questions you may have.
Why Juno is the future.
I had one woman access advice online who was pregnant for the first time with twins. She was bleeding in early pregnancy and was very worried about losing one or both of her babies. I gave her support, reassurance and guidance throughout her whole pregnancy and she gave birth to two beautiful healthy babies. She felt that having access to midwifery support whenever she needed was invaluable and helped her enjoy her pregnancy more. This is why our Juno midwifery advice service will be invaluable for families and why I am so excited to be a part of it.
So if you are planning to have a baby, pregnant or have a newborn baby, please download Juno and contact us whenever you have any questions you need answered. We are currently available 8am-8pm, 7 days a week and run a fast response service with highly experienced midwives available at the touch of a button.
Sound the klaxon and stop the press! Midwifery advice is coming to Juno!
Recently we’ve been thinking hard about how to better help parents-to-be across the UK. Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right pregnancy advice, at the right time. But we want to change that. We are partnering up with Ask The Midwife to provide fast guidance for new mums throughout their pregnancy journey.
Ask The Midwife’s Hannah Harvey (BSc) is joining Juno to ensure that the advice given is trustworthy, friendly and reassuring. With all her experience, she brings a team of expert midwives to be at hand when parents need them most.
What is Ask The Midwife?
In 2016, Hannah Harvey created Ask The Midwife as an online platform to give women access to midwifery advice whenever they needed it. Whether it was guidance during early pregnancy, or after birth with their newborn baby, Ask The Midwife aimed to bridge the gap with online interaction between midwives and women. Whilst having over 10 years experiences practising midwifery, Hannah is also a mum-of-three (and nearly four!). We couldn’t think of anyone better to help lead Juno, pass on her expertise and help parents with their questions or concerns.
At Juno, we are determined to continue Hannah’s endeavour to give reassurance, support and accurate and up-to-date information for every parent-to-be. We think that midwifery advice should be readily available at all times and if pregnant women are in any doubt, they can just ask Juno. Together, we hope to become a refuge of reliable guidance for parents throughout pregnancy and beyond.
Why midwifery matters.
During pregnancy, a midwife can’t be there all the time to answer your questions. There are always moments of doubt and worry over what is happening to your body and baby. We want midwifery advice to be easily accessible, delivered fast and unique for every user. Here are some key figures about midwifery and its use within the UK:
- 43% of women did not see the same midwife every time or almost every time during pregnancy.
- 8% did not have the name and phone number of their midwife.
- 75% of women had not met any of the staff who cared for them during their labour and birth before.
- 23% reported that when they contacted their midwife they were not given the help they needed.
These statistics clearly show that adopting a midwifery service is a step in the right direction for healthcare. With the help of Ask The Midwife, we hope to meet the demands of midwifery advice and help as many pregnant parents as possible.
Like what you see? Good to hear! Sign up to the midwifery waitlist now!