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Southend’s Maternity Unit in line for national award nod

25 Jan Southend’s Maternity Unit in line for national award nod

The Maternity Unit at Southend University Hospital has been shortlisted for a national award from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).

The unit has been shortlisted for its progress in promoting antenatal colostrum expression during the latter part of pregnancy, for mothers with a specific medical need such as those with diabetes.

Julie Newby, Infant Feeding Advisor at the hospital, explained: “The first milk that is produced in the breasts is called colostrum. This can be obtained during pregnancy after 36 weeks’ gestation and stored ready for baby should he or she need extra supplements. It is produced in small amounts during pregnancy and contains antibodies to protect newborns. It is often referred to as ‘liquid gold’ and can be collected 2-3 times a day in small syringes provided by the Maternity Unit and stored for three months in a home freezer at a minimum temperature of -18°C.”

Infants of mothers with diabetes are particularly at risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) in the first few hours after birth and antenatally expressed colostrum can be very useful to stabilise the infant’s blood glucose levels until feeding becomes established.

The awards ceremony takes place in London on Tuesday 7 March