Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Petals (Pregnancy Expectations Trauma and Loss Society) was set up as a charity in 2011 by a group of healthcare professionals working in maternity care, alongside women who had experienced first-hand the loss of a baby, or trauma during birth.

Petals has run a successful counselling service at The Rosie Hospital, Cambridge since 2013. Over 600 women and couples suffering from pregnancy or birth related trauma have benefited from the Petals specialist counselling recovery programme with 95% reporting improvement in their mental health and wellbeing.

Since 2013 Petals have expanded and now also provide a specialised counselling service at Queen Charlottes and St Mary’s Hospitals in London (opened Nov 2015), The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford (opened June 2017) and Ipswich Hospital (opened September 2017).

Our aim is to expand this successful service to support mothers, couples and their families across the United Kingdom providing individual counselling. These are parents whose babies die before or soon after being born, parents dealing with distressing diagnoses during pregnancy and parents who have a traumatic birth experience.

One of the main difficulties people face with baby loss and resulting mental health problems is the silence and stigma that surrounds these issues and the subsequent lack of understanding within society.

This service has been provided for patients attending the maternity service at our four hospitals sites, delivered alongside the clinical teams, providing much needed psychological care, complementing the excellent physical care. It is a unique, successful collaboration that is now sought after by a number of maternity services across the UK.

The proposed project will enable Petals to expand this service and duplicate our successful working model at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow.

At Petals, we pride ourselves on being available to parents as their trauma unfolds, supporting their recovery process with early intervention. This also fosters a trusting relationship with the parent that encourages them to come back for further counselling sessions to maximise the benefit of this support.

1) Staffing of the project is essential - we will be recruiting 2 further Petals Counsellors who will be trained to Petals Approved status to meet the needs of the project

2) We are already in discussions with the management team at Princess Alexandra Hospital
to negotiate a Service Level Agreement with the Trust for the use of rooms within the hospital site. (as we have at all of the hospitals we operate in)

This funding would enable Petals to establish the counselling service at Princess Alexandra
Hospital for the first year, demonstrating the benefits not only for the parents attending but also the
Trust and NHS community services. As has happened at Addenbrookes, we anticipate
other funding sources becoming available to us once we have established a robust service. This, along with community fundraising events and donations from beneficiaries will sustain funding of the service and we would anticipate also encourage the hospital trust to contribute also.

All of our clients are asked to complete a questionnaire which measures psychological symptoms before and after our intervention. Data from the first 100 clients shows:

90.2% of clients show an improvement in functioning
95.15% of clients show an improvement in problems
91.1% show an improvement in well-being

Of the clients that show significant clinical risk to themselves or others, 94.9% show improvement.

Project Video

Pregnancy Expectations Trauma And Loss Society (Petals)

Since 2013 we have helped over 1,000 clients. No other counselling service collaborating with maternity services this way exists in the UK. We are working with other national baby loss charities to develop the National Bereavement Care Pathway for baby loss led by NHS England & the Dept of Health.

Location: Harlow