‘Innovator of the Year’ STARs winner and Specialist Physiotherapist Andrea Yeboah, along with her colleague Bella d’Almeida, has successfully rolled out the winning initiative to support pregnant women and people in Sussex through their pregnancy and after birth.
The duo created a Wellbeing and Exercise in Pregnancy programme (WEPP), offering free online exercise videos and resources.
The initiative came about after Andrea and Bella, Pelvic Health Physiotherapy Service Lead, completed clinical improvement scholarships, allowing them to explore their respective areas of interest; perineal tears and the effects of antenatal yoga on anxiety, stress and depression.
After securing funding from Sussex Local Maternity and Neonatal System, WEPP has successfully launched at Worthing Hospital and St Richard’s Hospital and the team are in the process of expanding across Sussex maternity sites.
The initiative caught the judges’ attention at our annual Patient First STAR Awards, which celebrates our hardworking staff and volunteers who embody the ideals of our Patient First programme, with Andrea winning Innovator of the Year award.
Andrea explains more: “WEPP has attracted a lot of interest as the area of preventative health, healthy lifestyle and healthy weight in pregnancy are so topical at the present.
“There is a big national drive around weight management and perinatal mental health in pregnancy and in the postnatal period – and within maternity we are all passionate about optimising care in these areas.”
The health benefits of exercise in pregnancy can include lowering blood pressure, helping sleep, reducing the risk of gestational diabetes, improving mood, increasing fitness and helping with weight management.
The online programme gives access to a library of 10-25 minute videos featuring yoga, Pilates, general exercise and gym ball work. For those who cannot exercise during or after their pregnancy, there are also a range of useful resources to access, including rest and relaxation audio recordings.
Bella added: “WEPP provides a set of resources all under one umbrella with the added convenience of being able to access these from the comfort of your own home. We aim to empower our pregnant and post-natal populations and build health confidence.
“The aim is to also take some of the pressure off already overstretched services by providing a tailor-made resource which we can modify and adapt according to feedback.”
WEPP has also been embedded in a national project, for which Bella is the Sussex clinical lead,that is redesigning the Pelvic Health Pathway in Sussex.
The team hope to develop specific sections around healthy weight and perinatal mental health.
Nicole, Midwife at UHSussex and Personal Trainer added: “The project is a fantastic opportunity for us to complement existing services and to work as a multi-disciplinary team both with maternity health care providers and with public health in order to optimise care for our pregnant and post-natal populations.”
If you’d like to find out more information, please visit Sussex WEPP section of the Sussex Local Maternity and Neonatal System website.