Pregnancy can be a worrying time, but mums to be with blood disorders can receive extra reassurance thanks to a “one-stop” service being offered by the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust.
It is the only trust in the South West Peninsula to run a joint haematology / obstetric clinic for women who are at risk of a blood clot or who have blood or bleeding disorders and are pregnant, or want to get pregnant.
The monthly clinic was set up by Dr Aylur Rajasri, consultant in maternal and foetal medicine, and haematology consultants Dr Desmond Creagh and Dr Julie Blundell.
In a single appointment an expectant mother can see haematologists, obstetricians, nurse specialists and tissue viability nurses.
Dr Rajasri said the aim of the service was to simplify the care of high risk patients.
Dr Creagh agreed: “They receive all the information they need in one appointment and have the opportunity to ask questions and we can plan their care with all their needs in mind. We are then able to provide information to the delivery team, midwives and others involved so everyone understands the situation.”
One mum to benefit from the service is Michelle Dunleavy who owns the Donnington Guesthouse in Truro with her husband Darragh.
Michelle is now the proud mother of healthy 11-week-old Frank. She said: “I had a DVT clot about three years ago and was told that if I ever got pregnant I might have problems because of the DVT. My blood is quite thick but when you get pregnant it gets thicker and so I needed to be under the care of haematology.
“I had no idea they did this one stop service and that haematology and maternity worked so closely together but I think it’s fantastic. I never imagined it would be like that, being able to see the obstetrician at the same time as the haematologist, it was just great.”
During her pregnancy Michelle, 42, visited the department frequently. “I had thorough health checks, friendliness and reassurance every time which I want to thank them for. I had to inject myself every day with a fragmin injection and then visit the hospital every two months. I’d have blood tests and then see Dr Creagh and the obstetrician. It helped to make it an easy pregnancy and a wonderful experience.”
Dr Rajasri said: “The benefit of this monthly clinic is we can see the women early in pregnancy or even before they get pregnant so we can provide advice and information to them to help them make an informed decision as to the best time to try for a baby and what they might expect in pregnancy given their other health conditions.
“It means they get the best chance of a successful pregnancy and we are able to make sure their other health conditions are under control and get a good start on what can be very high risk pregnancies.
“This service is a real team effort. Without the nurses and secretaries as well as the consultants, it wouldn’t be successful.”
Michelle Dunleavy and her husband with baby Frank.