Burnley's new 'Rainbow' Pregnancy Clinic is a bright idea

Staff from the Rainbow Pregnancy Clinic, including consultant Martin Maher and'Julie Mcnevin-Duff (right), with parents Laura Dacre and Nathan Jackson and baby Isla Jackson.
Staff from the Rainbow Pregnancy Clinic, including consultant Martin Maher and'Julie Mcnevin-Duff (right), with parents Laura Dacre and Nathan Jackson and baby Isla Jackson.

Burnley General Hospital now has a 'rainbow' pregnancy clinic - providing specialist care for women who fall pregnant following late miscarriage, stillbirth and early neonatal death.

The Rainbow Pregnancy Clinic, at Burnley's Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre, is based on continuity of care for parents expecting a rainbow baby, in a specialist multi-disciplinary team.

Led by consultants, with additional midwifery support and shared care with other relevant services, expectant parents are able to use a separate waiting area when visiting the clinic, and can attend more regular reassurance scans to ensure the health of the unborn baby.

Present at the launch were Laura Dacre and Nathan Jackson, parents to two week-old baby Isla, the first baby to be born through the Rainbow Pregnancy Clinic.

Laura and Nathan lost their first son, Loui, at 26 weeks in April 2018, and praised the care they received at the clinic.

“The Rainbow Clinic is a lovely environment, and the one-to-one care we received helped to reassure us”, said Laura.

“A rainbow pregnancy is really exciting but is also such an anxious time – you’re always hoping things are going to be okay this time round. We always saw the same staff which meant we didn’t have to keep repeating the story about our experience with Loui, and we received bereavement support too.

“The Clinic provides a high level of care, and I would tell any mother expecting a rainbow baby that the Rainbow Clinic will help you get through things more easily, because they really tailor the care for bereaved parents.”

The clinic also works closely with the Reassurance Early Pregnancy Clinic, where women expecting a rainbow baby can be referred as early as five weeks, much earlier than the standard of 16 weeks, and can access emotional support as well as early scans.

These mums are then seamlessly transitioned to the Rainbow Pregnancy Clinic as their pregnancy continues. This care is offered during subsequent pregnancies too, providing specialist care for every new baby a mother may have following a loss.

“Sadly, pregnancy loss or the death of a baby, are not rare events, and thousands of people in the UK are affected every year”, said Julie Mcnevin-Duff, midwife at the Rainbow Pregnancy Clinic.

“This experience has a significant physical, emotional and psychological impact on women and their families, who often face navigating the journey of a new pregnancy in the context of grief and trauma.”

Martin Maher, Rainbow Clinic consultant, said: “We have always provided this kind of support but it’s been fragmented – now we have a clear pathway for bereaved parents to access specialist care from early pregnancy to birth, and post-birth too. This is more than just providing specialist scans that reassure, it’s about acknowledging their previous experience and the impact it will have had, and tailoring care around that.”