London ambulances launch 'cuddle pockets' to help parents cope with baby loss

Nicola Jones and Camella Main show off one of the cuddle pockets
-Credit: (Image: London Ambulance Service)

Handmade pouches designed to help expectant parents following a miscarriage have been rolled out across the London Ambulance Service. The knitted 'cuddle pockets' will let bereaved families hold their baby and enable staff to transport them to hospital in a dignified way.

Advanced paramedic Nicola Jones drew on her own experience of baby loss to launch the project with lead midwife Camella Main. The pouches, made by charity Blue Lights Babies, will now be included in the maternity pack on every London ambulance.

Nicola said: “I have a personal experience of losing a baby and I know a lot of others do too. At the time of my loss, I really struggled going from paramedic to patient. The change left me feeling incredibly vulnerable and I often felt very alone during the experience and as I tried to come to terms with the loss.

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An ambulance crosses Westminster Bridge
The cuddle pockets are now included in the maternity pack on every London ambulance -Credit:Jason Alden/Bloomberg via Getty Images

“The moment I saw the pockets I really understood the impact they could have. I knew from a patient’s perspective the difference they would make.

Camella added: “As a midwife, supporting bereaved parents is a core aspect of our role. Listening to what they need during this really difficult time is essential.

“My colleagues and I have seen for ourselves that giving parents time to hold their babies born too soon can be a crucial step in their recovery." In the last year, London's ambulance staff attended 1,100 patients experiencing miscarriage or suspected miscarriage.

The London Ambulance Service launched a specialist maternity team in 2013 whose responsibility is to train ambulance crews, support call handlers, and review incidents. The training has been co-designed with parents who have experienced baby loss to support appropriate communication and memory-making.

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