A NEW mum told today how a pioneering Sunderland health scheme which has become the focus of international doctors helped ensure her premature twins arrived safely.
Medics from the U.S. recently travelled to Wearside to see how the city’s innovative mobile monitoring scheme was supporting expectant mums.
The system enables women with mild pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) or gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) to keep a tighter check on their health.
Angela Hope, 27, from Grindon, was pregnant with twins when she started using the system earlier this year.
She said: “I was 27 weeks pregnant and after an appointment with my consultant, my high blood pressure was detected.
“I was given a kit which included a blood pressure monitor to check for signs of hypertension and protein stix to check my urine for symptoms of preeclampsia.
“I’d type in my results to my mobile and text them back to be checked.
About a week after Angela started using the system it detected that her blood pressure was too high.
She said: “I received a text to contact the day unit at the hospital. After further checks I was admitted to hospital, it could’ve been more serious if it wasn’t detected so soon.
“It was reassuring to know that the system was working and managed to find signs early enough to prevent any further difficulties.
“After that, I was put on further medication to reduce my blood pressure and the frequency of the checks was increased to monitor daily.
“I received a text message asking me if I had any symptoms each day and after replying to that I would receive another text to ask me to enter my blood pressure and protein details.”
Angela, who is a clerical officer at Sunderland Royal Hospital, added: “The whole thing only took a few minutes and it meant I didn’t have the inconvenience of attending appointments.
“I could carry on with life normally without the added stress of waiting around for checks at a clinic.
In March, Angela was again prompted to make an appointment following concerns about her blood pressure and, after closer assessment, it was decided to deliver early at 31 weeks.
“I’m so glad that I was being monitored so closely and my high blood pressure was picked up on.”
After giving birth to her twin boys, James and Jacob, who were born one minute apart nine weeks ago, she continued with her mobile monitoring to check that her blood pressure was under control.
“It really did give me a peace of mind and it was so convenient.
“After giving birth the last thing I wanted to do was to have to take James and Jacob to a clinic for me to be checked.
“Using the simple kit and my mobile phone I could do it without any disruption to our routine.”
Just weeks ago, Washington DC based doctors, Dr Wyatt Smith and Colonel Ron L. Moody, who support the US Veterans Health Administration’s mobile telehealth implementation, visited Sunderland to see how the system worked.
NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group’s Debbie Burnicle said: “We met with the American doctors who were very impressed with how the pregnancy project had been developed.
“Like ourselves, they see many potential uses of the system to enable clinicians to work in partnership with patients to ease monitoring of their condition and reduce the need for emergency intervention.”