Picture book for expectant parents wins patient information services award

by Ben Ireland

A story book with pictures that aims to guide parents-to-be with learning disabilities through the process of childbirth has won the BMA patient liaison group annual information awards

Location: UK
Published: Friday 10 June 2022
having a baby

Having a Baby, by Beyond Words, follows an expectant couple through their journey from first symptoms of pregnancy to giving birth. 

The resource aims to empower expectant parents with knowledge of pregnancy while allowing midwives to answer questions, offer reassurance and provide care that best meets parents’ needs.

Beyond Words offers books for people who can’t read or who prefer visual communication. This includes people with learning disabilities and/or autism and people with cognitive or communication difficulties. 


Approximately 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability, and 7 per cent go on to become parents. 

Lead author Kathryn Hollins, a consultant parent, child and family psychiatrist working in the NHS in Surrey in The First 1,000 Days programme, at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as well as private clinic The Hollins Practice, collaborated with co-authors: Anna Cox, a psychologist and researcher at the University of Surrey; Milli Miller, a senior social worker in the adult learning disabilities team at Ealing Council; Tessa van der Vord, a specialist mental health midwife; Scott Watkin, a father and expert by experience; and artist Beth Webb. 

The project was overseen by Baroness Sheila Hollins, a professor of the psychiatry of learning disability at St George's, University of London and founder and chair of Beyond Words.

She accepted the award alongside Dr Hollins at the BMA’s virtual event.  

Short list

Having a Baby was the overall winner after five resources from the 10 nominees announced last month were whittled down to a shortlist of five. 

The shortlist included:  

  • 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 
  • Having a Baby, Beyond Words.  

The BMA PLG (patient liaison group) annual information awards, supported by more than 100 charities and patient groups, aim to recognise high-quality, accessible, and well-designed information resources that seek to empower and inform patients in relation to their health.