New online resources, which aim to help women deal with their own health and wellbeing after they become mothers, have been launched.
The resources have been developed by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and are based on the findings of the Maternal health And Maternal Morbidity in Ireland (MAMMI) study.
This study looked at the wellbeing and health problems of over 3,000 first-time mothers. It found that while women experience a range of health problems after they give birth, their health is often overlooked, becoming secondary to the health of their child.
These health problems, which are often preventable and/or curable if recognised and treated early, can have a major impact on women's physical and mental health.
The new online resources aim to provide evidence-based information, which will help women deal with various post-partum health issues, including those of an embarrassing or sensitive nature.
They are divided into three areas. The first is ‘Women's Health After Motherhood (WHAM)'. This was co-designed and developed with women who recently became mothers, as well as maternal health experts. It includes articles, videos, interactive activities, self-assessments and coached tasks.
The second resource is ‘Motherhood, Empowerment, Sustainable Self-help: Addressing Gaps in Education with Science (MESSAGES)'. This contains self-help and educational videos and other materials to help women deal with urinary incontinence.
The third resource is ‘Towards Recovery After Childbirth, through Knowledge (ON-TRACK)'. This is a series of education videos on pelvic girdle, sexual health and anxiety in the postpartum period.
"The MAMMI study was set up as a study with and for women. From the very start, and especially after we shared the findings with women at various events and seminars, women kept telling us to ‘do something about these findings', ‘you have to break the silence' and ‘you have to do something to make it better for future mothers'.
"Working in partnership with MAMMI study participants and healthcare professionals, we spent the last year designing these wonderful, reliable and trustworthy resources for women, and for healthcare professionals to use to complement their practice," explained Dr Deirdre Daly, who was the principal investigator on the MAMMI study.
She said that because these resources are co-designed with women, it means that they are "highly relevant to women as they become mothers".
"Every question I had as a new mother felt like a stupid question to me. I felt I was the only one experiencing motherhood as I did. I realised through the MAMMI study that for the most part, everyone is going through the same thing.
"Those ‘stupid questions' aren't stupid at all and they are all answered within these new on-line resources. If the resources had been available when I had my baby, they would have allowed me to prepare myself for the loneliness, isolation and guilt you feel as a new mum," commented MAMMI study participant, Naomi Donaldson from Dublin.
To find out more about these new online resources, click here
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