On a neonatal ward, the first few moments of a baby’s life can be the most crucial.
As they open their eyes to the world, mother and baby form an unbreakable bond while expert staff rush to provide the best medical care.
But when a baby is born prematurely, they may need to be hurried away for lifesaving treatment - leaving parents without their child.
Neonatal teams face a dilemma. Delaying the cutting of the cord gives the baby a better, healthier start in life - but when medical attention is needed urgently, they don’t have time to wait.
At Poppy’s Fund we wanted to help neonatal staff provide exceptional care for premature babies at the bedside, so that parents can stay close to their newborn for those vital first moments.
Your donations helped us reach our £8,000 target to fund two mobile resuscitation units for the neonatal teams at two London hospitals - Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea and St Mary’s.
This remarkable equipment – known as a Lifestart trolley - will allow staff to provide life-saving care for premature babies at the bedside. And crucially, without the need to cut the cord straight away.
Studies show that delaying the cutting of the cord by just a few minutes can dramatically improve a baby’s chances of survival, while the close contact between mother and baby means there is no need for separation.
The trolley includes a heated mattress and emergency kit required for life-saving resuscitation procedures. And all the while, neonatal staff can be on hand to reassure concerned parents face-to-face.
Dr Aniko Deierl, a Consultant Neonatologist at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, has seen the incredible impact this equipment can have – for premature babies and their parents. “With this equipment, we can perform delayed cord clamping for pre-term babies and start stabilisation at the same time,” she said. “We hope this will improve the survival rates of pre-term babies and reduce the risk of brain bleed in these newborns.”
Dr Deierl believes that in addition to giving babies the best possible start in life, the equipment will make a big difference to parents’ mental health.
She said: “For any family that needs to come to the neonatal unit, we know that separation does happen and it can be very traumatic. In some cases it can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder in the long term. But being able to provide that life-saving care at the bedside can be transformative for parents.”
Delaying the cutting of the cord by as little as 1-5 minutes means up to 30% more blood can be transferred from mother to baby. This boosts the baby’s iron levels and stem cell count, as well as improving motor and social skills in the long term.
Research also suggests this short delay can reduce the risk of death by as much as 30% – meaning the neonatal team at Queen Charlotte’s & Chelsea, who deliver and care for around 100 extremely premature babies every year, could save many lives.
Whilst we have been able to provide two lifestart trolleys to date we would like to be able to buy a third, click the button below and select 'Poppy's Fund' when asked where you'd like your donation to go.