Digital ‘baby expert’ to support mothers-to-be through pregnancy

A personal digital ‘baby expert’ is helping to support mothers-to-be through their pregnancy and the early months of their child’s life.

Baby Buddy is a free app which enables new parents to access a range of personalised daily self-care advice with the aim of promoting informed and confident pregnancies and early parenting. It also provides midwives with self-care resources that they can use in their consultation to ensure mothers under their care get the most effective support and make “every contact count”.

Baby Buddy has recently updated its resources to support mothers in Norfolk. There are 9,000 births in the county each year and with some expectant mothers living in more remote areas, it can make attending check-ups and sourcing advice on a whole range of ante and postnatal topics more difficult. Factor in a severe bout of wintry weather and it becomes even more challenging.

However, using the quality-assured smartphone Baby Buddy app a woman can chart every day of her pregnancy, accessing a range of advice on topics such as how to stay healthy, appointments and scans and spotting the early signs of labour. The support continues for six months after birth. Baby Buddy includes more than 300 short videos of new parents and professionals sharing their own experiences on anything from breastfeeding to coping with mental health issues.

For those mothers living in Norfolk, the app links to a new website developed by Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust that offers resources to encourage learning and peer support, which will be officially launched during Self Care Week next month. The aim is to make families feel more in control of their own and their baby’s and/or child’s health in the hope it will prompt a reduction in the numbers attending community clinics and the number of contacts with the GP and emergency departments in Norfolk. You can get a sneak preview.

Eastern AHSN is supporting the partnership, working between Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and Best Beginnings, which makes the app. Baby Buddy is available from iTunes or on Android and has recently been listed in the NHS apps library. It has been co-created with input from parents, midwives and doctors, and is currently the only app to support pregnancy supported by the Royal College of Midwives and other royal colleges.

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