Premature birth test trialled in Sheffield

2 March 2017

A new test is being trialled in Sheffield which could predict premature birth up to three months before the due date.

The test could reduce the risk of the death of a baby and save the NHS £1 billion a year.

Rachel Hodges, vice chair of the JOEL charity, said: “I think it’s amazing. We’re very positive about this because it will help families so much.”

“Having gone through a rainbow pregnancy myself, and supporting families who are going through a rainbow pregnancy, you want answers. You need somebody to tell you that your baby is going to be alright.”

JOEL work with those giving birth to a rainbow baby, a term given to a baby born after the death of a child, and to all those who have gone through this.

Rachel Hodges said: “We’re very colourful, we’re very positive. Rainbow babies signify hope.”

It was formed in Worksop in 2011 by Emma and Matthew Pearson, who found there was a lack of support for those going through a ‘rainbow pregnancy’.

Initially the aim was to set up a special birth room which gave priority to bereaved families. The room opened in 2014 in Bassetlaw Hospital, Worksop, but the charity has only grown from there.

JOEL now offer counselling and support groups, as well as giving every member a family support pack.

The family support pack is free of charge and includes a certificate of life, which gives a family the chance to acknowledge the life of a baby that has died, as well as a journal put together by those who have been through the experience themselves.

Following a storyline on Coronation Street there was a huge number of requests for these packs, which were distributed as far as America. It is now distributed to some local hospitals and there is a project to start making it available in hospitals nationwide.

Although they support families all over the country, JOEL predominantly work close to Worksop, and as Sheffield is their closest city they have strong relationships, such as with Jessop Fertility.

You can watch our interview with Rachel Hodges below and find out more about JOEL at




Written by Jamie Firby

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