MAMA Academy - Positive about pregnancy
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The MAMA Academy  is a relatively new charity but its aims, objectives and ideals are not lost on me. The most sad and terrible thing that can happen to any woman is going through a pregnancy, looking forward to meeting the baby, having expectations of the present and looking forward to the future only to be dealt with the rude and cruel shock of a stillborn. There are no words to describe how any woman who has experienced this feels because we all process pain and deal with our emotions differently. As a mom in the labour room, paramount even beyond the pain is the expectation of wanting to hold your babe in your arms. For some women, the feeling this evokes is one of pain and short-lived joy: no woman should have to go through pregnancy that results in a stillbirth.

I am passionately drawn to the aims and mission of the MAMA Academy from a very personal perspective and I consider it an absolute privilege to get involved via lending a voice of support to what the charity continues to strive to achieve. More than anything else, my major aim is to get actively involved with the ideals of the charity to make child birthing a positively memorable experience for expectant mums.

One woman’s determination to ensure expectant mums do not have to experience such devastating loss and  also help other women who have been through such experience by providing a focal point of succor resulted in the birth of The MAMA Academy.

The Mama Academy was set up by Heidi Eldridge  in 2012 after the loss of her baby, who was still born with no explainable reason. Passionate and determined to prevent other mothers to be from experiencing similar heartache, Heidi actively sought answers and worked towards creating awareness on how to  help more babies arrive safely as the UK has one of the highest stillbirth rates in the developed world.

Stats show that well over  5700 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every year in the UK, sadly, this sums up to well over 100 every week and UK figures are only just starting to decrease for the first time in 20 years.  In April 2011, a report published in The Lancet Medical Journal reveals that quite a significant percentage of stillbirths are potentially avertable  as they occur so close to term. Invariably, the significance of this research was that if babies at risk of being stillborn were identified they could be delivered early and consequently prevent such tragic loss

Heidi attended various Sand meetings to actively carrying out a lot of personal research which she in turn presented to her local hospital at their MSLC meetings as she realised that many mums were receiving inconsistent advice from their healthcare team.
 All of these was a turning point for her as she not only learnt the value of midwives but she identified a need : that midwives also need as much support and access to new and relevant information, just as much as expectant mums do and this led to the birth of the MAMA Academy, the pregnancy school!

MAMA Academy is a new and registered charity that is positive about pregnancy and actively committed to raising awareness of what can be done to help deliver babies safely and save their lives by empowering mums with adequate pregnancy information to ensure they know what to look out for and help them stay confident enough to report any problematic symptoms to their maternity team as soon as they can.

MAMA is also very passionate about supporting midwives and actively works and supports the Royal College of Midwives. Midwives in practice are  constantly kept abreast of current research and guidelines to aid consistent maternity care through the  accurate educational information and best practice guidance MAMA strives to provide to enable midwives give the highest standards of care to all expectant women.

MAMA ACADEMY’s Mission is as follows:

- Raising awareness of baby loss.

- Empowering parents with vital knowledge and education on health in pregnancy and when to call their maternity team for advice

- Supporting healthcare professionals by keeping them up to date with the latest practices, guidelines and research to provide consistent maternity care.

The MAMA Charity does employ a couple of remarkable and rewarding ways to create an awareness of what they do and how it benefits  expectant mothers and Midwives. These include:

-MAMA’s Made to Measure Campaigns targeted at all UK hospital trusts, calling them to adopt the perinatal institute’s GAP programme (a programme that uses focus specific growth charts to better identify growth restricted babies, a key risk indicator for stillbirth) with the sole aim of saving at least 1000 babies lives yearly.

- MAMA’s videos follows on the made to measure campaigns and the whole idea behind the perinatal Institute’s GAP programme, their videos are aimed at providing support health professional by encouraging them to actively work together on a mission to save 1000 babies yearly. A seemingly significant video is a short educational video specifically aimed at midwives highlighting how to accurately measure symphysis-fundal height, a vital skill to correctly plot baby’s growth on the customised chart.

-MAMA’s Wellbeing Wallets are  printed with relevant information and advice to help support expectant mums during the pregnancy journey. The intention is to encourage mums read information contained whilst waiting on their antenatal appointments thus keeping the well informed. Information contained in the Wellbeing Wallets also help midwives initiate conversations on important pregnancy topics such as monitoring babies’ movements. MAMA  continues to work with the NHS England to provide ALL trusts with the wallet which can be handed out to mums at their booking appointment.

The other ways which MAMA continues to engage to achieve its mission includes Hospital presentations which keeps midwives equipped with relevant awareness and understanding on preventing stillbirths and also empowering them with the vision that they can change the practise and attitude relating to childbirths and stillbirths for the better. MAMA also continues to play an active part on social media platforms and online communities, encouraging women to keep themselves informed via learning from each other’s personal experiences and equipping them with the information and knowledge they need to  help them give their baby only the best potential chance of being birthed safely

MAMA ACADEMY and The Future….
‘’We envisage a future of confident and empowered expectant mums, where fewer families will go through the heartache of losing a baby at any stage of pregnancy, and midwives feel able to offer the care they truly want to provide for all women’’

Lend your Support

It is very important to keep the MAMA academy running. In such a short while of her existence, a lot has been achieved and the organisation can do so much more with support and adequate funding. Your donations will go a long way in ensuring the MAMA academy continues to keep up with its good work and support for expectant mums. Please visit the MAMA ACADEMY  HOME PAGE for details on how to donate. Fundraising events for the MAMA Academy are also welcome, please get in touch here for further details.

**Excerpts from the MAMA ACADEMY Website, additional input by EllaandIrene**

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