Lynne Reed writes about what we learnt from a recent quality improvement project to help more young mums to stop smoking in pregnancy

Building quality improvement capacity in the Family Nurse Partnership National Unit is part of our strategy to ensure continuous improvement in the FNP programme in England through the applied use of quality improvement methodology.

Children are learning already before birth. By 17 weeks gestation, the foetus will have learned how to co-ordinate simple motor movements on the basis of the neurological feedback received from gravity and pressure from the uterine wall. By 29 weeks, the unborn child will be able to discriminate differences in language sounds through listening to the tones coming from the mother’s voice.

I don’t have to cast my mind back too far into my public sector career to remember a time when the interplay between the early years, health and wellbeing, education and long-term employment was not as well recognised as it is now, in theory or in practice.

During pregnancy, birth and the early years much of our attention is centred on mother and baby, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the important contribution that fathers can make or the challenges they face.

Fathers in prison: although physically removed from their children, their impact is so very significant.

I was first introduced to the Family Nurse Partnership when I was 19 years old, 13 weeks pregnant, alone, scared and sleeping rough. I was sleeping rough to avoid my family who had no idea I was expecting until I was 34 weeks.

Play and learning can be perceived as opposites, particularly for older children: The school day is often divided into lessons, where the learning takes place, and ‘play time’, which is presented as something different to – break from – the learning. But a true understanding of children’s development shows us that play IS learning.

We know that the early years are a critical opportunity for building healthy, resilient children, with positive early experiences shaping outcomes throughout the life-course and contributing to a healthy, thriving society.

Since the original Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study conducted in the United States in 1998 1, extensive research has continued to reveal how ACEs affect health later in life as well as the well-being of those experiencing them

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