One hundred pregnant mothers in Nottingham City are set to learn from Support ME’s free online antenatal course ‘Bump to Baby’, launched today, changing the way that expectant parents from all ethnicities and economic backgrounds are supported in their journey to parenthood.
Support ME – a Nottingham-based grassroots organisation set up by Minority Ethnic mothers and birth workers, Manisha and Anna- is today launching sign-ups for a free antenatal class starting this July to one hundred mums-to-be across Nottingham City.
No matter a mum’s circumstances or background, no one should go through motherhood alone. Many pregnant women are being advised to self-isolate or avoid crowds and closed spaces to minimise the risk of contracting covid. This will include missing out on traditional antenatal education and support accessibility.
Through free access to a comprehensive online course, mothers can receive antenatal, birth preparation and postpartum recovery support from the comfort of their own homes. Ensuring that self-isolating parents are not forgotten, mothers can also receive 1:1 sessions with birth workers, and emotional wellbeing practitioners, alongside participating in monthly friendly-group workshops and an interactive Facebook group.
“Pregnancy, childbirth and the first few months with a newborn are unlike any other time in a mother’s life. Run by two experienced doulas and co-founders of Support ME, parents can feel supported and well-informed during this time with us,” says Nadine Otting, a dedicated Support Me volunteer.
“We really encourage pregnant women in Nottingham City with high-risk pregnancies or those having to self-isolate to book onto our free course.”
Thanks to funding from the Nottingham Community and Voluntary Service, this project will bring Support ME one step closer to its mission: that all families are well-supported during and beyond the pregnancy, no matter their financial or cultural background.
With Nottingham City home to a multicultural community, alongside a breadth of economic disparity, including many deprived areas, this course aims to give all families equal opportunity to be educated.
“I’ve dedicated my career to working with migrant families. Very often they are anxious to be pregnant and give birth in a foreign country. They don’t know the maternity system and English is not their first language,” says Anna Rutkowska co-founder of Support ME.
“Since I became a doula I’ve worked with more than 150 families, with the majority of them being migrants. In this course, I focus on decision-making and how to effectively communicate with healthcare professionals. The course is set out to equip parents with the skills and clarity needed to navigate through the maternity system.”
With maternal outcomes for Black and Brown women significantly worse than for white women, this course is especially being promoted to mums of mixed ethnicity backgrounds. Not only are Black
women four times more likely to die during pregnancy, labour, or postpartum, but they are twice as likely to have their baby die in the womb or soon after birth and are at an increased risk of readmission to the hospital in the six weeks after giving birth. Support ME aims to provide interculturally competent, empathetic and compassionate support to women, to improve clinical and psychological outcomes for Black and Brown women and their children.
“Being in the perinatal world for four years now, I’ve seen the impact of educating families from all backgrounds on the physiology of birth and having a newborn. It enables them to make informed choices and supports their positive mental well-being. Families have gone from feeling terrified to empowered,” says Manisha Sheth, co-founder of Support ME.
“Comprehensive antenatal and postnatal education should be something every family receives.
We’ve seen a lack of access to evidence-based education since Covid, especially for those self-isolating. Things are often already difficult for pregnant families, so we’re removing self-isolation as a barrier so that more people can access what we believe to be necessary education.”
This course will see Support ME’s first cohort of one-hundred families begin the course in July. Long-term, Support ME’s ambition is to evolve the free course to give access to all families across Nottingham.
NOTES TO EDITOR:
For further details, or to organise an interview please contact:
Emma Oldham (07939180489)
About Support Me CIC:
Is run by birth workers, mothers and volunteers who share a passion to improve perinatal and birth care for all communities as well as acknowledging and accepting their cultural practices. Support Me creates a safe and inclusive space by offering culturally-appropriate support and guidance.
They offer antenatal, birth and postnatal support including pregnancy care, birth doula support and helping families manage their anxieties and emotions. Support ME primarily but not exclusively offer support to those from a Minority Ethnic community who:
- Have English as their second language
- Are first-time parents and anxious about navigating the maternity system
- Have experienced birth trauma
- Are struggling with their emotional or mental health
- Are pregnant after loss or infertility
- Have had or are having problems with breastfeeding
The May 2022 Black Maternity Experiences survey revealed:
- 43% reported feeling discriminated against during their maternity care, with the most common reasons being race (51%), ethnicity (18%), age (17%) and class (7%).
- During labor, 43% of women surveyed reported their pain relief options were not explained to them
- 52% of women who did not receive their choice of pain relief said there was no explanation as to why it was not given to them.
The Birthrights report: Systemic racism, not broken bodies revealed:
- Feeling unsafe during maternity care was the most prominent theme in the testimonies
- Racism and racial discrimination had a direct impact on their sense of safety
- Numerous people felt their voices were not heard during their maternity care.
- Racist attitudes and behaviours by caregivers – manifesting as stereotypes, microaggressions and assumptions about risk based on race – are having a serious detrimental effect on people’s maternity experiences.