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Claire Cregg

Award Received: 
Midwives Award
Subsidising a specialist training course for midwives in complimentary therapies
Year awarded: 

I applied for this award on behalf of a group of twelve midwives working in an NHS Trust in the North West. We have used the award to partially fund an in-house 10 day training course in maternity complementary therapies.

The remaining cost of the course was self funded by the participating midwives. The purpose was to enable us to strengthen and expand the existing aromatherapy service that we already offer as part of our maternity care within the midwifery led birth centres at our trust.

Studies that have looked at the use of complementary therapies have previously shown that their use is most commonly amongst women of a high socioeconomic status and those living in the South of the country (Sharp et al, 2018).

As we work in the North West in areas that have high levels of low socioeconomic status and deprivation the use of complimentary therapies is limited to the minority of our local population who are able to seek out private services and ultimately are able to afford to pay for treatments.

Until recently complimentary therapies in maternity in our area have only been available to the more affluent women in our society who are in a position to seek out, travel to and pay for these services privately. It has been really important to us to be able to provide services like aromatherapy in midwifery on the NHS so that birthing people from all walks of life are able to access and benefit from them.

Sadly shortly after we began the course we were faced with the Covid pandemic. Not only was the course put on hold for sometime due to the restrictions on face to face meetings and the additional pressures faced by those working within the NHS but we also saw the suspension of our existing aromatherapy services.

Thankfully, although it has taken much longer than we would have liked, I can report that we have completed the full course of training, and have now been able to reinstate an aromatherapy service within our birth centres.

We provide aromatherapy in the later stages of pregnancy for anxiety and relaxation, aromatherapy and acupressure treatments for postdates pregnancy, aromatherapy during labour as an additional pain relief option, anxiety relief and relaxation, and to enhance uterine action and following birth to aid postnatal recovery.

In addition to the twelve midwives completing the full ten day course we were also able to offer places on the full course to two midwives from other local NHS Trusts and a health visitor, thus, providing them with the opportunity to consider implementing or further developing any existing complementary therapy services in their own NHS Trusts and health visiting services.

An additional 30 midwives working in the local areas were also able to receive training in individual aspects of the course such as aromatherapy, postdates pregnancy and moxibustion for breech presentation.

As a result of the Iolanthe award and organising the course to be held in the local area midwives have been able to access and complete the training at a significantly reduced cost.