Reducing Pregnancy And Birth Inequalities In Polish Communities – PR 14/02/2023
Reducing Pregnancy And Birth Inequalities In Polish Communities: Support Me’s New Doula Project Aims To Close Maternity Support Gap - PR 14/02/2023
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A new Polish doula programme – launched by Support ME – aims to reduce risks to mums and babies, by training Polish-speaking doulas to give families free physical, emotional and culturally-relevant support during their prenatal and postnatal periods.
Doulas are specialists who provide non-medical pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal support, and they are seeing huge increases in demand. With doula support, many women can forgo epidurals, avoid cesareans and have less stressful births. The positive effects of doula care are greater for socially disadvantaged women, low-income, for first births or those giving birth in a hospital without a companion, or have experienced language/cultural barriers .
Launching this week, Support ME, is starting its twelve-month comprehensive training and supervision programme, aiming to support 7 Polish doulas. The free training places were advertised last year, with final applicants selected from across the country. The programme aims to close the growing gap in maternity health support for Polish families, by representing the passion, engagement, communication, teamwork and collaboration of Support ME’s experienced bilingual, minority ethnic volunteers and project coordinators to improve families outcomes.
Once trained, Support ME will match up two doulas per family to support Polish women most at risk from possible adverse birth outcomes including racial disparities, financial hardship or those without a birth partner. Working in pairs, polish-speaking doulas will give additional support and backup through emergencies, illness or unpredictable situations where one doula can’t make it to birth.
“We’ve worked hard to ensure our new programme helps bridge the gap between Polish families and healthcare services. Currently, the NHS is too overwhelmed to offer this level of continuous support, for women where English is not their first language,” says Anna Rutkowska co-founder of Support ME.
“This is resulting in minority ethnic women suffering from poorer health outcomes and being left out. We’re striving to improve perinatal outcomes in Polish women and prevent birth trauma, isolation and postnatal depression. This new support we’re offering aims to increase birth satisfaction, breastfeeding rates and engagement of the eastern European community with health services.”
Overall, 18 families will receive this new birthing option throughout 23-24, funded by Support ME. The project aspires to empower Polish mums across England, Scotland and Wales to communicate their needs, promote healthy behaviours, increase knowledge, practice effective self-management of health activities and access social services to actualise their dream of a healthy, positive birth experience.
“I’m so excited to start the doula course and meet the rest of the team,” says Karolina who is starting her training this week. “I’m looking forward to learning how to help welcome a new life in into the word and working with other mums. I want to build a strong Polish community with understanding, knowledge and support to break the shame and language barriers.”
Support ME’s doula project complements their successful ‘Polish Village’ in Newark, where parents are receiving first-class, caring and accessible maternal support across a range of free classes, including a breastfeeding support group, stay-and-play and after-school club.
This new doula programme aims to expand Support ME’s offering to Polish families outside of Newark into wider communities across England and into Scotland and Wales.
By training and upskilling Polish volunteers, Support ME also hopes it boosts employment and educational opportunities.
NOTES TO EDITOR:
For further details, or to organise an interview please contact:
Emma Oldham (07939180489) / email@example.com
About Support ME CIC:
Support ME Is run by birth workers, mothers and volunteers who share a passion for improving perinatal and birth care for all communities and acknowledge and accept their cultural practices. Support ME creates a safe and inclusive space by offering culturally-appropriate support and guidance.
Support Me offers antenatal, birth and postnatal support including pregnancy care, birth doula support and helping families manage their anxieties and emotions.