BirthWise, a new charity focusing on the journey through pregnancy, birth, and the early days of parenthood, launched today Friday 27th September 2019, at the NI Positive Birth Conference.
The charity, which aims to connect, empower, inform, and support new parents is campaigning for continuous improvements in maternity care.
This summer, BirthWise captured the experiences of nearly 2000 women in a comprehensive survey of maternity services here. While most women had a positive experience of local maternity services, there were some concerning patterns among the responses. These include:
One of the strongest themes in the survey responses was the continuity of carer. Women valued continuity of carer when it happened and they really noticed the absence of continuity when they experienced it. There is already clear evidence that women and babies have better outcomes in maternity services that prioritise continuity of carer, maximising opportunities for relationship-based care.
Seána Talbot, Chair of BirthWise said,
“This is a proud moment for all involved in BirthWise. It is also an opportunity for action. As an evidence-based organisation, this survey of nearly 2000 mothers demonstrates that we are getting a clear message from women that maternity services could be much improved here. Northern Ireland currently has no strategy for maternity services with the last strategy having lapsed in 2018.
BirthWise is calling on the Department of Health to review maternity services and develop a new maternity strategy for Northern Ireland. Similar to other strategies which the department is progressing, a co-design approach will be vital to ensure women are supported and to ensure the best possible start in life for their babies”.
BirthWise is run by a grassroots movement of over 80 volunteers and is made up of expectant and new parents as well as volunteers who bring many years experience from working in the sector and with organisations such as Sure Start, Tiny Life, TAMBA, Breastival, SANDS, We Are Pangs, and others.
BirthWise is the only NI-based charity focusing on the general, universal journey through maternity services and through that phase of life and BirthWise will continue to work with and for the other charities which focus on specific groups of parents.
In recent months, BirthWise volunteers have set up a range of groups and activities, including Bump Clubs in Downpatrick and Belfast, Bumps and Beyond in Bangor, Breastfeeding Groups in Newry, Banbridge, and north Belfast, as well as summer meet-ups, workshops, intergenerational events, a Teddy Bears’ Picnic and a beach clean.
Photograph supplied by BirthWise shows Emma and baby Caitlin - just after giving birthTagged with: birth trauma, birthwise charity, birthwise launch, having a baby, improve maternity care, maternity, maternity care in northern ireland, NI Births, pregnancy ni
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