MUMS-TO-BE will be able to instantly message a midwife for advice thanks to a new mobile app.

Basildon Hospital has launched Maternity Direct, a web-based app which connects pregnant women with an NHS registered midwife.

The app was developed after the trust found that women had many questions regarding their pregnancy between scheduled midwife appointments.

Feedback from women found that searching online did not instil confidence, and some felt uncomfortable contacting their midwife or the maternity unit with non-urgent questions.

Claire Panniker, chief executive officer at Mid and South Essex University Hospitals Group, said: “I’m very proud of the work the maternity team have done in creating the maternity direct app.

“To be able to chat online with a midwife and be guaranteed a response within a few hours for those issues that are not an emergency is so reassuring and will give peace of mind to women going through the normal, but unexpected developments pregnancy brings.

“I’m confident that this app will soon be the first port of call for women all over Mid and South Essex.”

This is the first app to interactively connect registered NHS midwives with pregnant women to offer advice and answer queries.

Set up for non-urgent enquiries, the app provides access to up-to-date, evidence-based information and advice.

Mums-to-be who have registered with Basildon Hospital for their maternity care can access the chat function of the app, and a record of their chat will be available on the woman’s phone and stored in the trust’s patient record.

The main aims of the app are to improve communication for women while reducing the number of unnecessary phone calls, hospital attendances, and GP appointments for non-urgent issues.

There is also an in-app appointment calendar.

The app will also offer women information about their choice of maternity services, along with accessibility to personalised care plans and will enhance the continuity of care throughout their pregnancy journey.

Maternity Direct will be introduced to Southend and Mid Essex sites in the next year.