Womens Health and Family Services

Maternity Mates

We are recruiting Volunteers to become Maternity Mates and support pregnant women in Tower Hamlets, Newham and Waltham Forest.

A Maternity Mate is a female volunteer trained by WHFS to provide practical and emotional support to women during pregnancy, childbirth and the early weeks of motherhood. Support can start any time from the 5th month of pregnancy, through to birth and up to either 6 or 12 weeks after the baby is born (6 weeks in Tower Hamlets and 12 weeks in Newham).

Maternity Mates are recruited from the communities we serve, and where possible, will speak the same language as the mother-to-be. Maternity Mates support the mum to help her understand the issues and decisions that affect her care, and that of her baby.

We will provide you with accredited training to Level 3 with the London Open College Network (OCN), which also counts as 9 points towards the Access to Midwifery course, . We recruit and train Maternity Mates to a set timetable, with training completed in approximately 8 weeks. All volunteers must successfully complete the training course and DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service) checks before they are allowed to support women.

The length of time each Maternity Mate spends with a mum will vary, but is usually around 2 to 3 hours per week. This includes attending appointments and discussing the mum's options around the birth, in addition to supporting the mum during the birth in hospital. Our Maternity Mates can:

• Provide emotional and practical support before, during and after the baby is born;
• Introduce and encourage women to attend antenatal classes;
• Explain the choice of birthing options available;
• Accompany women on a tour of a hospital or community birthing centre;
• Attend hospital, GP, antenatal appointments and classes with the mother;
• Provide information and support on birth planning, including pain relief options;
• Provide support during the birth, contributing to a more positive experience of childbirth;
• Offer information and support around breastfeeding;
• Offer advice and referrals to further support;
• Give introductions to the local children's centre and mother & baby groups.

If you are interested in becoming a Maternity Mate or want more information, please do call the Maternity Mates team on 020 7377 8725.
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