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New ultrasound machine at Royal Preston Hospital to boost the bond between mums and babies

Maternity and neonatal charity Baby Beat has purchased a specialised ultrasound machine for the Women’s Health theatres teams at Royal Preston Hospital, with the help of a £1,000 grant from the Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation.

The equipment helps with the placement of epidural pain relief and spinal anaesthetic, both of which are vital in ensuring mums have a safe birth without the side effects of strong painkillers or general anaesthetic.

When a mum-to-be has a spinal anaesthetic, she will be awake for the birth of her baby and can care for her baby more readily than if she underwent a general anaesthetic. The new ultrasound machine enhances the chance that an epidural or spinal anaesthetic can be administered. This means that mums can have immediate skin-to-skin contact with their babies, which comes with great benefits.

Lead for Obstetric Anaesthesia at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Anna Bewlay, said: “General anaesthesia can make mums sleepier after birth, and there is a greater need for stronger painkillers afterwards, which can have an impact on breastfeeding. That’s why we prefer mums to have an anaesthetic that ensures they stay awake and really enjoy those first moments with their new arrivals. Sometimes, administering epidurals or spinal anaesthetics is challenging, but the addition of the new ultrasound machine means the placement can be easily guided and the whole process is safer.

“We are extremely grateful to Baby Beat for purchasing such valuable equipment, which will help us to continue providing a high standard of care for mothers and babies and ensure skin-to-skin contact is established as soon as possible.”

Another benefit of the new ultrasound machine is for when mums become very unwell, and specialised intravenous or vascular lines are required to ensure her safety and stability during the birth process. The machine assists with the identification of the blood vessels required to insert the line, preventing the need for multiple attempts by the team and reducing stress on mums.

Temporary Baby Beat Manager, Cathy Skidmore, said: “We are delighted to have been able to purchase such a vital piece of equipment that has obvious benefits to the women who come to us to have their babies. We know how important skin-to-skin contact is and the fact that this new machine will help our teams to ensure that happens as quickly and as safely as possible is fantastic. We would also like to say a huge thank you to the Yorkshire Building Society Charitable Foundation for helping to make this happen.”

To find out more about other Baby Beat-funded projects and equipment, visit their website here:

Get in touch

Chorley and South Ribble Hospital

Preston Road



01257 261222

Royal Preston Hospital

Sharoe Green Lane




01772 716565

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