LAS introduces 'cuddle pockets' for grieving parents to take miscarried babies to hospital

Advanced paramedic Nicola Frayne (L) with the service’s lead midwife Camella Main (R) (London Ambulance Service)
Advanced paramedic Nicola Frayne (L) with the service’s lead midwife Camella Main (R) (London Ambulance Service)

The London Ambulance Service has introduced handmade “cuddle pockets” designed to help parents cope with the trauma of losing a baby.

The knitted pouches will allow bereaved families to hold their baby after birth and in the ambulance, the LAS said.

Advanced paramedic Nicola Frayne worked alongside the service’s lead midwife Camella Main to launch the pockets – drawing on her own experience of baby loss.

She 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.

“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.”

She added: “I visited several GPs in the months following my own loss and was often asked to repeat my experience and was even asked to present proof of my miscarriage.

“This increased my fear and anxiety about returning to work. But I’m using my experiences to try to help others when they need it most.”

The cuddle pockets will now be included in the maternity packs carried in every ambulance across the Service.

In the last year, the LAS attended 1,100 patients experiencing miscarriage or suspected miscarriage.

Ms Main said: “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.”

Staff have also been trained in how to support families, with training co-designed with parents that have experienced baby loss to support communication and memory-making.

The pockets were created by Blue Light Babies, a group of knitters that donates them to ambulance trusts across the UK.