Charity’s picture book linking midwives and expectant parents with learning disabilities wins top BMA patient award

by BMA media team

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Last reviewed: 13 June 2022
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A picture book for expectant parents with learning disabilities has won a top British Medical Association 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, which took place virtually on Friday.

‘Having a Baby’, which follows two expectant couples on their journey from first signs of pregnancy to giving birth, aims to improve communication and build trust and understanding between midwives and expectant parents with learning disabilities. It 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.

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”.

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.”

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.”

Dr Latifa Patel, interim BMA representative body chair and PLG patient information awards co-host, said:

“The importance of clear, trusted and evidence-based health information for patients and the wider public cannot be underestimated, and never has this been more relevant two years into the Covid-19 pandemic. These awards reaffirm the BMA’s commitment to inclusive, accessible and patient-centred care and celebrate organisations which excel in producing engaging and relevant information that have patients’ needs at their heart.

“The calibre of this year’s entries was incredibly high and we congratulate all of those selected for the long list, short list and, not least, the overall winner Books Beyond Words on their award.”

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


Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.

  1. The 10 longlisted nominees were:
    ‘Alcohol-related brain damage: a toolkit for self management and recovery’ - Penumbra
    ‘Bereavement and work website information’ - Marie Curie
    ‘CONfidence app’ - Experts Self Care
    ‘COVID-19 and your heart information hub’ - British Heart Foundation
    ‘Having a Baby’ - Books Beyond Words
    ‘Racism and mental health’ - Mind
    ‘RCR national consent forms for radiotherapy’ - The Royal College of Radiologists
    ‘Sex and relationships for people with or affected by MND’ - MND Association
    ‘Trans & non-binary sexual health’ - Terrence Higgins Trust
    ‘Your blood cancer diagnosis – What happens now?’ Blood Cancer UK.
  2. Please contact Emily Magdij for any media queries for Beyond Words on [email protected]
  3. Find more about the awards here.