(Sunday 9 June 2013) Irish voluntary organisation, AIMS Ireland, today launched an innovative new public information campaign for women having babies in Ireland. The campaign, called 42 weeks, aims to inform and support women and their partners so that they can put decisions about their maternity care firmly in their hands, to ensure that they make informed choices, and have the best possible birth outcomes, for their babies and themselves focusing on healthy births for babies AND mothers.
Commenting on the launch of 42 weeks, Krysia Lynch, AIMS Ireland said “Our research has shown that mothers have better birth outcomes when they feel fully involved in their maternity care, well informed, aware of their options, listened to and have adequate support from caregivers. Our goal with 42 weeks is to provide women with all the unbiased, evidence-based information that they need to make informed choices about their care in pregnancy and birth. Every woman, pregnancy and baby is different, so it’s important that each expecting mother has options and care specific to her needs. We aim to help her make that right decisions for her to have a healthy positive birth for baby AND mum”.
She continued “Even something as simple as a slight change in our thinking about having a baby in Ireland will have a positive impact on birth outcomes. For example, we view maternity care options in Ireland as being public, semi-private and private when this really only represents how maternity care is paid for, not the type of care that is provided. However, if instead we thought of maternity care as consultant-led, combined care with hospital & GP, midwife-led, domino or with a self-employed community midwife in your own home, immediately we have a new perspective of the range of different maternity care options available.”
Additionally, the 42 weeks campaign will address some myths about pregnancy and birth in Ireland, so that mums can make informed choices about their care. For example, many mothers often believe that their first baby must be born under consultant-led care in a hospital. The reality is the full range of options are accessible by low risk women in their first pregnancy including midwifery led care and homebirth.
The campaign begins today, Sunday 9 June and will run for 42 weeks, the length of a pregnancy, ending on Mother’s Day 2014, Sunday 30 March. A number of events and activities will take place during the period including a Birth Gathering in September and a re-launch of the AIMS Ireland survey What Matters To You, which will collate feedback of users’ experience of care in maternity services in Ireland in 2013, updating the results of the original 2009 survey.
42 weeks is also compiling an anthology of birth stories and photographs of women’s experiences of giving birth in Ireland which will be published on the 42 weeks website, www.42weeks.ie, and a dedicated Pinterest Board, www.pinterest.com/42weeks.
“Birth stories have such a powerful impact on expectant mothers. This will be a fantastic resource, specific to birth in Ireland, which will help women ‘see’ what positive birth looks like and understand birth choices through other women’s own words and experiences. We are asking women across the country to share their stories and images with us. Their experience could make a huge difference to other women planning or preparing to have a baby in Ireland”, Krysia concluded.
If members of the public would like to contribute to the 42 weeks campaign, they can contact 42 weeks directly through our website, www.42weeks.ie,through our Facebook page www.facebook.com/42weeks or on Twitter www.twitter.com/42_weeks. A selection of stories and images are currently available on the site.