The For Baby’s Sake Trust is Campaigning for Emotional Safety Plans in Maternity Units Across the UK

The For Baby’s Sake Trust, a charity dedicated to breaking cycles of domestic abuse and giving babies the best start in life, announces the launch of their ‘Maternal Health Matters’ campaign ahead of Mother’s Day 2024.

As maternal mortality rates in the UK reach a two-decade high (according to data from MBRRACE-UK), the Trust is partnering with Best Beginnings, The Institute of Health Visiting, St Michaels Fellowship and a range of other supporters to advocate for practical action to ensure every parent feels safe, heard and supported, including the use of Emotional Safety Plans in every Maternity Unit across the country.  

Dame Lin Homer, Chair of The For Baby’s Sake Trust, said:  

“Maternal health is a huge concern that needs immediate attention. The ‘Maternal Health Matters’ campaign is a significant step towards acknowledging the challenges parents and healthcare professionals face and encourages everyone to work together to provide comprehensive, accessible care that ensures the mother and baby, and their well-being, are the priority.”  

Launching on Mother’s Day 2024, the ‘Maternal Health Matters’ campaign aims to raise awareness of the alarming rise in maternal mortality rates and offers solutions to the resounding calls of parents and professionals to feel heard. Central to their campaign is the Trust’s Emotional Safety Plans, developed with Best Beginnings, which expectant parents (and family, friends and birth companions) can use to record what they need to feel emotionally safe before, during and after birth.  

The campaign also emphasises a whole family approach and shines a light on the importance of providing emotional support to fathers and partners as they also go through the journey of pregnancy and parenting, with Emotional Safety Plans available for completion by anyone who needs them during pregnancy, birth and beyond.  

Judith Rees, Director of Operations at The For Baby’s Sake Trust, said: 

“The Emotional Safety Plan tool is for anyone preparing for the birth of a baby. You can use it to record what you may need to feel safe emotionally and how midwives and other professionals can be supportive by their words, actions and making sure you feel heard.  It is especially useful for those who have had difficult or traumatic experiences in the past, or on the way to becoming a parent.” 

The campaign further aims to underscore the stark reality of disproportionate maternal mortality rates, particularly affecting Black and Asian women in the UK (according to a report by MBRRACE-UK). Recognising the urgency of addressing this disparity, The For Baby’s Sake Trust advocates for a holistic approach to maternal health with careful consideration of the barriers to parents feeling heard, and physically and emotionally safe birth experiences for all parents. 

Lauren Seager-Smith, CEO of The For Baby’s Sake Trust, said:  

“We are calling for immediate, positive action to address maternal mortality rates. We want to ensure all parents feel that their physical and emotional needs are met and are confident they will be listened to. The ‘Maternal Health Matters’ campaign is a call to action, urging society to recognise the critical need for collective action to address this issue. Alongside this, we’re calling for Emotional Safety Plans to be embedded in every maternity unit across the UK, ensuring the well-being of parents and professionals during this vulnerable period.” 

Alongside the Emotional Safety Plans for parents, the Trust has also developed tools to support the emotional health of midwives and other professionals on the front line, in response to the pressure on maternity and perinatal services. The Trust implores that the dedication and care of those on the front line cannot be underestimated, and it is vital that they receive the emotional support they need.   

Alison Morton, CEO of the Institute of Health Visiting said: 

“Having a baby is life changing – and we know that the journey through pregnancy, birth and beyond can include a rollercoaster of emotions as mothers, fathers and co-parents navigate the ups and downs along the way. Everyone’s experience is unique. For some, domestic abuse and trauma can make parenting much harder, harming the lives of so many. We are therefore delighted to partner with The For Baby’s Sake Trust on their campaign for emotional safety planning to be part of routine care before, during and after the birth, alongside their wider work to break the cycle of domestic abuse”. 

The Emotional Safety Plans aim to share what parents need to feel safe, and to thrive; an issue of direct concern to the Trust’s aims of breaking cycles of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse is an alarming maternal health issue. As highlighted by research by The Royal College of Midwives, and The For Baby’s Sake Trust’s work with families, the domestic abuse risk is heightened during pregnancy. Not only is domestic abuse more likely to begin or escalate during pregnancy, but it has significant negative health implications for pregnant women and their babies, with potentially far-reaching intergenerational consequences.  

Feedback from parents using the Emotional Safety Plan report a greater sense of self-agency, feeling safer and feeling heard and understood by the different professionals supporting them. As one mother working with For Baby’s Sake said about her use of the Plan:     

“It’s easier to speak about bad feelings, and […] it’s harder to find things that make me happy, but the Emotional Safety Plan showed that those feelings were in me.” 

Ahead of campaign launch, The For Baby’s Sake Trust has also submitted to the Birth Trauma Inquiry, established by the APPG on Birth Trauma. The Trust welcomes intentions to reduce the rate of birth trauma and emphasises that their Emotional Safety Plans can help to address this issue. There will also be a webinar hosted on 16 April 2024 by The For Baby’s Sake Trust team to bring influential voices in the maternal health and birth trauma space together, and to guide professionals and parents through the tool. More details will be released at a later date.  

The ‘Maternal Health Matters’ campaign runs from Mother’s Day 2024 until World Health Day on 17 April 2024. To learn more, please head to  

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