Coronation Street actor Julie Hesmondhalgh met local midwife and Matron, Ann Marie Cunliffe, at the Rovers Return to raise awareness of the telephone service Direct to Midwife.
The new helpline allows patients to speak to a midwife as soon as they know they are pregnant instead of their GP, often gaining access to antenatal care more quickly.
Actress Julie was well looked after by midwives whilst pregnant with her daughter Martha, now 8. She said: “I strongly believe in midwife-led antenatal care. My experience was fantastic when I was pregnant with Martha. They offered me reassurance and advice when I needed it the most.”
“TheDirect to Midwifetelephone number is a great idea, because it offers mums-to-be a simpler way of accessing the care they need. It is safe for a woman to speak to a midwife as soon as she knows she is pregnant and it is better to do it sooner rather than later.”
Marie, who is a midwife and matron at Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust visited the famous cobbles to hand over a set of posters for display around the Corrie studios, which has become famous in recent years for the high number of pregnancies amongst cast members.
She said: “The experience of midwives in Wigan means we’re often best placed to look after pregnant women and their babies, making sure specialist care is available if needed. We can ensure that women are booked for important early screening tests and appointments in good time.”
“Direct to Midwife brings us closer to women of all backgrounds, as it offers a translator and textphone service too. An early appointment with a midwife can help to reassure women and their partners about the journey ahead.”
The introduction of the Direct to Midwife telephone number, reached by dialling 0800 121 4400, is designed to offer the choice of using a midwife as first point of contact more widely. On calling, women will be put in touch with the team of midwives closest to where they live.