To mark UK Mother’s Day, we chatted to just one of the amazing organisations within the coalition that provide support and solidarity for refugee mothers. Amma Birth Companions is a Glasgow charity that provides one-to-one support during pregnancy, labour, birth, and early parenthood.
Tell us about your work
Our clients include those who are seeking asylum, refugees, survivors of human trafficking, and individuals from other marginalised groups. Most people we work with are newly arrived in Glasgow with little to no support network.
Our volunteer birth and postnatal companions are trained to deliver trauma-informed and culturally safe care to the people we serve.
We aim to ensure that every parent they support can make informed decisions about their care and the care of their baby. We do this through 1-1 birth preparation and the provision of trauma-informed, multilingual antenatal education. Since becoming operational in May 2019, they have supported around 250 parents.
What are some of the challenges faced by the families you support?
At Amma, we observe first-hand the multiple challenges faced by pregnant women and refugee mothers. Pregnant people in the asylum process face multiple barriers to accessing perinatal care. This includes things like: a lack of information about how to access healthcare; concerns about how having a child might affect their immigration status; avoiding appointments because of fears around birth; worries about the baby being taken away; fears about giving birth alone; struggles to afford transportation to and from appointments; language barriers and lack of effective translation services.
Pregnant women in the asylum process also face the stark reality that, across the UK, Black, Asian, and mixed ethnicity women experience overall poorer health outcomes and worse experiences of care within the NHS than white women. National statistics continue to highlight the gravity of these racial disparities — with Black women up to four times more at risk of dying during or soon after childbirth than our white counterparts.
On top of this, women from migrant backgrounds are up to twice as likely to suffer postnatal depression than their UK-born counterparts.
“Join us in creating a healing, nurturing society where refugee mothers and their babies can thrive.“
What are your hopes for the future?
At Amma, we believe that a little bit of unconditional support can go a long way — and that we can all play a part.
This Mother’s Day, we’re calling on the government, healthcare providers, third sector organisations, and the community to join us in creating a healing, nurturing society where refugee mothers and their babies can thrive.
Read more about Amma Birth Companions and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.