The Welsh Ambulance Service has become one of the first in the country to introduce handmade ‘cuddle pockets’ that allow stillborn babies to be transported to hospital with compassion.
The knitted pockets have been donated by non-profit Needles and Hooks Angels and Preemies (NHAP), and are designed for stillborn babies born before 24 weeks gestation. The baby is placed inside the pocket which is tied together with ribbons.
The initiative is designed to help grieving parents and ensure that their babies are treated with dignity.
The clinical lead for the project, Steve Magee, said: “The loss of a baby is incredibly difficult for both the parents and the ambulance crews who attend”.
“Historically, our crews have had no compassionate way of wrapping and transporting premature stillborn babies and have had to improvise with the equipment they have”.
“We wanted to do something that would make the journey to hospital less distressing for everyone”.
“We’re hugely grateful to NHAP for knitting these unique cuddle pockets completely free-of-charge, and to The Consultant Midwife Group for Wales for supporting us to make this happen.”
Dignity and compassion
The cuddle pockets are set to be used on all of the Trust’s ambulances and rapid response vehicles.
Claire Roche, the Trust’s Executive Director of Quality and Nursing, said: “Dignity and compassion is so vital to improving the experience of families when they suffer a tragic pregnancy loss”.
“Thankfully, cuddle pockets will not be needed very often, but when they are, they can make such a difference for mothers, fathers and families”.
“For parents, knowing that their babies are being treated with the utmost respect is so important, as well as our staff feeling they are able to provide babies and their families with support and care when they need it most.”
A similar scheme is being run in King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which has provided a ‘cuddle cot’ for women whose babies were born prematurely so that their parents could spend some time with their baby before the funeral.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson said: “The increased concern for the grieving parents who have experienced the loss of an unborn child as well as the focus on the dignity of the child is certainly a sign of progress in the duty of care that we owe to mothers and their babies”.
“Sadly, it is in marked contrast to the continued abortion law in this country, which resulted in over 200,000 abortions in 2020 alone. These cuddle pockets rightly recognise that the life of every unborn child and his or her mother’s life matters. The abortion law in the UK says that the life of the unborn child only matters if we want it to matter.”