A picture book for expectant parents with learning disabilities has won a top British Medical Association (BMA) award to recognise publications that provide high-quality, accessible, and well-designed patient information.

‘Having a Baby’, from charity Beyond Words, was the overall winner at this year’s BMA PLG (patient liaison group) patient information awards.

The book follows two expectant couples on their journey from first signs of pregnancy to giving birth and aims to improve communication and build trust and understanding between midwives and expectant parents with learning disabilities.

It also seeks to empower expectant parents with knowledge of childbirth, while allowing midwives to answer questions, offer reassurance and provide care that best meets parents’ needs.

Support people with learning disabilities to explore feelings about pregnancy and childbirth

Dr Kathryn Hollins, lead author of ‘Having a Baby’, said: “We are absolutely delighted that our book on pregnancy and parenthood, called ‘Having a Baby’, has been recognised for the vital part it can play in empowering expectant parents. We know how refreshing and helpful practitioners find Books Beyond Words, and we are so excited that more parents and families will get to read this book as a result of today’s award.

“Winning this award is proof of the importance and value of co-creation, because this book would not have been possible without the advice, feedback and ideas that resulted from patients, families, practitioners and artist working closely together.”

The judging panel commended ‘Having a Baby’ as a “brilliant co-production between people with learning disabilities and those who support them has led to this accessible and engaging resource. It is well designed to fulfil its aims to support people with learning disabilities explore feelings about pregnancy and childbirth”.

Emma Beeden, BMA patient liaison group member and PLG patient information awards co-host, said: “These awards celebrate quality patient literature and the value it has for both patients and healthcare professionals. People should own and control their condition, so they can determine how they want to live their life, rather than the condition dictating this.

“All of the entries to this year’s awards demonstrate the importance of empowering patients to understand and own their healthcare journey. While picking a winner is always a tough task amid such high-quality entrants, this year’s overall winner was an excellent example of patients and those supporting them working together to produce an engaging and useful resource that strengthens the patient-clinician relationship based on mutual respect and agency.”

The other four shortlisted entries were:

  • ‘Covid-19 and your heart information hub’ – British Heart Foundation
  • ‘Your blood cancer diagnosis – What happens now?’ – Blood Cancer UK
  • ‘Sex and relationships for people with or affected by MND’ – MND Association
  • ‘Trans & Non-Binary Sexual Health Resources’ – Terrence Higgins Trust