Benefits of support for pregnant women

Kia Zulberti with son Harrison (8 months) and ECU midwifery student Sharna Bicheno. Picture: Emma Reeves d418723
Kia Zulberti with son Harrison (8 months) and ECU midwifery student Sharna Bicheno. Picture: Emma Reeves d418723

The two met through ECU’s Mothers Adopting Midwifery Students (MAMS) program, which pairs undergraduate and postgraduate students with women up to 35 weeks pregnant for their mutual benefit.

Sharna (22) accompanied Kia to doctors, ante-natal and post-natal appointments, and was at baby Harrison’s birth last August. Several months on, the two women still enjoy catching up.

Sharna, who is working with 20 mothers during two years of postgraduate study, said MAMS was a great learning experience.

‘We form a bond with the mother and, by the time of the birth, the student has got to know her and her family,’ she said.

Kia, who had a natural birth after a caesarean with first-born Mitchell, appreciated regular support from a familiar face while helping Sharna learn.

ECU School of Nursing and Midwifery lecturer Carol Pinch said the program, offered for four years from Joondalup campus, had many benefits.

‘There has been a lot of research which shows women who have continuity of support are less likely to need pain relief, have epidurals and interventions in labour,’ she said. ‘It gives students the opportunity to really support the woman and her partner for the entire pregnancy.

‘They learn what pregnancy means for the couple as well as consolidating theory they learn in the classroom. We are always looking for mothers to take part.’

Pregnant women willing to join MAMS can register at midwifery@ ecu.edu.au or call 6304 3510.