Joy for Wexham Park Hospital Midwife - Karin Rigden wins South of England’s Emma’s Diary and RCM Mums Midwife of the Year 2019

on 06 February 2019 RCM Annual Midwifery Awards Emma's Diary

Nominated by local mum Lynn Morrall, Karin Rigden has been honoured as Emma’s Diary Mums’ Midwife of the Year 2019 for the South of England region. The prestigious award is one of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Annual Midwifery Awards, recognising the incredible work done by exceptional midwives across the country.

Midwives play such a critical role in so many mums’ lives and the Emma’s Diary Mums’ Midwife of the Year Award enables them to pay a heartfelt tribute to their own special midwife who truly surpassed what was expected of them. 

Lynn suffers from the condition Tokophobia (a fear of pregnancy and childbirth) and experiences anxiety in medical situations.  It was at Lynn’s eight week booking appointment that she first met her midwife, Karin. Although initially very emotional and anxious, Karin listened to Lynn’s fears, recognised the symptoms and took the time to explain Tokophobia and the support available.

Having Tokophobia meant Lynn struggled with pregnancy and bonding with her unborn baby but just knowing Karin understood how she was feeling was incredibly comforting.  To ensure continuity, Karin took sole responsibility for Lynn’s midwifery care and on the few occasions Lynn needed to see other members of the team, Karin took the time to ensure they were briefed on Lynn’s condition and fears ahead of each visit.

Karin always arranged visits at Lynn’s home to reduce her anxiety of medical situations and put her at ease and would always thoroughly explain what would happen at each appointment.  Karin also made suggestions of referral options available for her mental health support, involving Lynn in decisions and supporting her to feel, and be, in control of her care plan.

Karin knew how important it was to be with Lynn in hospital for her elective C-section so did everything humanly possible to ensure she was present.  She stayed with Lynn and her husband for eight hours, keeping her calm and talking to her whilst waiting for the operation and was by her side when she woke from the general anaesthetic. Whilst Lynn’s medical notes had her Tokophobia and anxieties highlighted along with instructions, Lynn felt comforted having her community midwife there to speak (and interpret) on her behalf, which was crucial in having her needs met and her anxiety controlled.

Lynn Morrall, who nominated Karin for the award, explains: “I was so fearful of the birth and being pregnant felt so alien to me.  It was so reassuring when Karin knew about the condition and could refer me to the right people. Throughout my pregnancy and during the birth of my daughter, Neve, I was astounded by the care, understanding, knowledge and support given to me by Karin - all of which vastly exceeded her duty as a community midwife.

“Without her personal support, her knowledge of mental health issues and knowledge of the NHS for referrals to other support networks, I would not have the new family I have today. She enabled me to cope mentally and is continuing now through the referrals she put in place as I come to terms with being a mother. I now hope to raise awareness about Tokophobia to ensure more medical staff are familiar with the condition and future sufferers get the help and support they need.”

On winning the award Karin Rigden who works for Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust adds: “I was surprised and overwhelmed but honoured to be nominated for the Emma’s Diary Mums’ Midwife of the Year Award. Lynn’s situation was quite unusual and when I think of this possibly being her only chance at motherhood, I was glad I made a difference and helped it be an experience that would not haunt her.

“Tokophobia is still a very misunderstood condition and I have learnt so much as a midwife by looking after Lynn, however I don't feel I did anything out of the ordinary.  I feel I was upholding the meaning of a midwife by "being with woman" and I wouldn't have been able to attend the birth without the help and support of my team in Maidenhead. Hopefully with this award it might help others in the same position. I’m so happy for her and Jon to have the family they deserve with little Neve.”

Emma’s Diary, the UK’s essential support resource for mums to be and new parents, received a record 953 nominations from mums across the UK. All entries were put through a meticulous judging process by a panel of representatives from both Emma’s Diary and the RCM, culminating in seven regional winners.

The RCM’s Annual Awards, now in its 17th year, will be hosted for the first time by popular TV presenter Alex Jones on 5th March 2019. Mum of one, Alex, best known for hosting The One Show, is currently pregnant with her second child. Karin will join the six other regional winners at a celebratory awards ceremony in London, where Karin will receive her trophy and find out who is crowned the coveted national winner.

Faye Mingo, Emma’s Diary’s chief marketing officer, comments: “This is now the fourth consecutive year that we have sponsored this award and the compassion and dedication demonstrated by these midwives continues to blow us away. We have yet again been overwhelmed with entries from mums nominating their extraordinary midwife for the pivotal role they played in their pregnancy and birth journey. Reading their stories is a truly humbling experience and we are so delighted for Karin, who is so deserving of this extra recognition.”

Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, says: “I am delighted that Karin’s dedication and understanding helped Lynn throughout her pregnancy and birth, and her knowledge of tokophobia and “with woman” care enabled her to support Lynn to reduce her anxiety. Understanding the issues experienced by women with tokophobia is extremely important and it is reassuring to see the beneficial impact of continuity of care on the support which Lynn received.  I offer my warmest congratulations to Karin on this well-deserved award and recognition for her professionalism, dedication and compassionate care.”


Notes to Editors:

Emma’s Diary Mums’ Midwife of the Year Award – the judging process

Nominations were triple reviewed and a strict scoring system was applied to whittle down the entries to a shortlist of 6-8 per region, before the overall regional winner was announced. Attributes including aiding the strengthening of the bond between mother and baby, support for their emotional care and best practice in helping the mother feel involved and in control were all carefully assessed. In total seven regional winners were awarded from the regions London, South, Midlands & East England, North of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Emma’s Diary

Emma’s Diary is the UK’s essential support resource for mums to be and new parents. Offering advice and support on pregnancy and early post-natal information, via responsible and reliable content that is verified by our very own Healthcare Team (made up of GPs and Midwives) and supported by the RCM.

Emma’s Diary is an Alliance Partner of the RCM, continually working together to provide information and understanding to improve the health and wellbeing of expectant mothers and new families.

Emma’s Diary supports every stage of the journey towards parenthood and beyond by making useful recommendations that match the ongoing needs of all new mums, helping to make the experience of motherhood a positive and reassuring one while offering peace of mind that any information given is medically verified.

Members of Emma’s Diary Parenting Club will also benefit from pregnancy and labour guides, great offers, discounts and free gift packs full of relevant samples to support their pregnancy and post-natal journey.

For more information visit or contact Emma’s Diary on 01628 522776 or [email protected].

The Royal College of Midwives

The RCM is the only professional organisation and trade union dedicated to serving midwifery and the whole midwifery team. We provide workplace advice and support, professional and clinical guidance and information, and learning opportunities with our broad range of events, conferences and online resources.

The Alliance partnership scheme develops relations with like-minded organisations who share similar values and goals. The partnership enables the Royal College of Midwives to promote our work and commitment to maternity professionals.

RCM Alliance Partners

Partners in the Alliance programme work hard to advance the interests of midwives and the midwifery profession. Shared ethics and ideas combine in dedicated support of midwives and all those touched by their care and the Alliance strives to enhance the wellbeing of women, babies and their families. For more information see our Alliance Partners section.

For more information visit the RCM website at