Support from the Start: – Civic Conversation
“A Volunteer Doula Project: Could it work here?”
Liz Cregan the chief nurse for East & Midlothian opened a ‘Civic conversation’, event at The Quay on February 22 to discuss the work of a successful Volunteer Doula project in Hull. The event was to raise awareness of a new initiative developing in England that appears to show promise in tackling early health inequalities. The participant discussed how these benefits could be extended to women in East and Mid Lothian.
A Doula is a trained and experienced partner who accompanies a woman through pregnancy and childbirth and the first few weeks of family life. Traditionally hired privately, training volunteer doulas who then offer their services free of charge to pregnant women is a growing trend. The Goodwin volunteer doula project trains women as doulas who then volunteer their services to women in the community. The project works closely with pregnant women from the asylum seeker community, teenage mothers, and women in sex work.
Heather Barnes, the current project manager in Hull (http://www.goodwindoulas.org/) was the keynote speaker at this event.
Through presentations and panel discussions, the morning session brought together mothers, doulas, midwives, members of the voluntary sector, NHS Lothian health professionals and a member of the Scottish Government. The session brought up many topics from how constant labour support can help improve outcomes for both mum, baby and their family to the importance of peer support and advocacy for women during this important time.
It proved to be a very interesting session which brought together a wide range of experiences and stories. We have attached the PowerPoint presentations for the day. Any comments or questions can also be directed to Shauna.
From this event, a mailing list was created to keep delegates informed about the progress of this idea. To be included on this mailing list, please contact Shauna.Powers@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk