Birth Companions provides support for pregnant women and new mothers who are facing severe and multiple disadvantage. They provide individual, intensive and flexible support before, during and after the child’s birth, including being on call 24/7 to attend women in labour.
Birth Companions was established in 1996, originally supporting women in Holloway prison; in 2007 this support expanded into the community to meet the needs of other vulnerable women. It is this Community Link Project that is supported by Lankelly Chase. This funding enables Birth Companions to support women who have been released from prison, are at risk of detention, or have experienced it before.
Birth Companions work during a time of huge change and challenge for pregnant women and new mothers. Their support aims to improve women’s mental health and wellbeing, reduce their isolation and enable them to give their babies the best possible start in life. Women are also supported to bond with their babies and are encouraged to feel positive about their new role as mothers, providing them with a strong basis for parenting in the future.
The project is also being evaluated to gather evidence on the impact of Birth Companions’ support and enable other service providers to use the main elements of its work. The evaluation will involve in-depth interviews with the women supported and other local agencies; in partnership with Whittington Hospital, it will also examine birth outcomes and maternal satisfaction for vulnerable women compared with other groups.
For more information: www.birthcompanions.org.uk