Blade Education
Blade Education 

Up The Ante Southend

Up The Ante Southend is a community led information revolution designed by families with experience of the birth experience at Southend University Foundation Hospital Trust (SUFHT) and the professionals that support them, in order that families are given the best locally tailored antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal advice.

Led by a Steering Group comprised of local parents, midwives, obstetric consultants and Blade Education staff, UTAS will seek to create a local community model which incorporates the the 'National Maternity Review: Better Births' and the 'Improving outcomes of maternity services in England (2016) recommendations for using technology to personalise the experience that mothers and families receive in Southend University Hospital Foundation Trust (SUHFT)'. This joint approach to information provision will lead to a more effective delivery of antenatal education to all families in the SUFHT area.

This project is an excellent way to explore and demonstrate how local mothers, their families and professionals can facilitate future generations of deprived families in improved pregnancy, birth and infant feeding outcomes.

We know that the caesarean rates at SUHFT are above the national average and this is one of the outcomes we believe can be reduced; numerous studies have shown the positive impact of evidence based antenatal programmes on increasing vaginal delivery rates and reducing epidural use. By tailoring antenatal information to Southend families, we can improve outcomes by enabling mothers to have realistic expectations of pregnancy and birth and by empowering women to be actively involved in decision making which will positively affect their maternity experience.


At present antenatal education is mainly given at the outset of pregnancy with limited review at 28 weeks.  Usually the majority of information is provided through classes at 32-38 weeks which depends on attendance and not commencing labour prior to attendance.  The information is offered in the form of leaflets or booklets and way too late in the pregnancy to make a difference on many of the key things that could produce a good birth outcome.

The main output of the UTAS project will be antenatal information sessions that are specifically targeted groups aimed at hard to reach mothers to be and women and girls before they become pregnant. To support these antenatal information sessions the project will produce a digital version of all of the information that is given to mothers during the sessions and make it available online free of charge.

The project will need to research exactly what mothers to be want and what mothers and families that have been through a birth at SUHFT would have wanted to help them achieve better birth outcomes. We will also need to establish the best delivery method for both the antenatal sessions and the online support service.

Current information for families is not currently locally focussed and it is not accessible. Project partner Blade Education specialises in this type of production and aims to change both of these issues by coproducing a series of films and webpages that will bring antenatal information into the digital age and deliver it in a way that the vast majority of women can access.

The UTAS project aims to provide better antenatal information for mothers in the SUHFT area. This should give mothers to be and their families the opportunity to make the right decisions to improve the outcomes of their pregnancy. The aim is to reduce the number of serious interventions during birth. This project also aims to change the way antenatal information is given throughout the country.

Up The Ante Southend is a coproduction that brings together Southend University Hospital Midwives, not for profit company Blade Education, Southend Vineyard, Secondary Schools and Toddler Groups.

Blade Education 2017


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