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Hundreds of women at risk of having premature babies are helped by pre-birth team run by East Kent Hospitals Trust

Hundreds of pregnant women at risk of a premature labour have been helped through a dedicated pre-term birth team at East Kent Hospitals.

The clinic, which runs at the QEQM in Margate and William Harvey Hospital in Ashford, celebrates its first anniversary this week, having helped dozens of babies safely enter the world.

Jaynie Hollister, Dr Aylur Rajasri and Poppy Corrall
Jaynie Hollister, Dr Aylur Rajasri and Poppy Corrall

The specialist clinicians have monitored about 200 people who were at risk of having a premature birth.

One of the mums who was cared for by the team is Kimberly Cousins from Ramsgate who says she will forever be in their debt.

She tragically lost her first baby at 20 weeks due to a condition termed incompetent cervix, where the cervix shortens and opens in the second or third trimester.

But she is now a mum, to 11-week-old Teddy.

"The clinic meant everything to me and my husband. If it wasn’t for them, Teddy wouldn’t be here," she said.

Kimberly and Oliver Cousins with baby Teddy
Kimberly and Oliver Cousins with baby Teddy

"They are fantastic. They made me feel very calm at a very anxious time."

People who have had previous premature births - or who have other risk factors including surgery to their cervix, or previous miscarriages - can be referred to the clinic by their midwife and will be seen until they reach their third trimester.

Babies born before 28 weeks of pregnancy have a much higher risk of ongoing health issues, and the chances of survival increase the later a baby is delivered.

Kimberly admits: "I was terrified. When I had the first scan at the clinic, my cervix had already started to shorten and open, but they acted really quickly.

"The team then monitored me every two weeks to make sure the stitch was still in place and nothing had changed.

QEQM Hospital in Margate. Picture: Google Street View
QEQM Hospital in Margate. Picture: Google Street View

"I can’t thank them enough for everything they did."

Foetal wellbeing midwife Jaynie Hollister says it is rewarding to see the impact the clinics have on people’s lives.

"We provide extra care and reassurance to people at one of the most worrying times of their lives," she said.

"We are able to review them regularly to check for changes and we can offer a range of treatments that can help prevent premature labour.

"It is so rewarding to be able to give them that extra peace of mind, and to know we can pick up any issues early and offer appropriate treatment to give the best chance of a good outcome.

"It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate a year of helping people to have their babies and we are looking forward to helping many more."

Consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Aylur Rajasri established the service and says it is her passion.

"I am very grateful to my team of midwives, health care assistants, admin and reception staff for helping me deliver this service so effectively," she said.

"I am delighted to see it making a difference and saving so many babies’ lives.

"We closely work with our colleagues at St Thomas for advice and their support has been a huge motivation to develop further."

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