Irish voluntary organisation, AIMS Ireland, has launched an innovative new public information campaign for women having babies in Ireland. The campaign, called 42 weeks, aims to inform and support women and their partners so that they can put decisions about their maternity care firmly in their hands, to ensure that they make the right choices, and have the best possible birth outcomes, for their babies and themselves.
A key element of the 42 weeks campaign is creating an anthology of birth stories and photographs of women’s experiences of giving birth in Ireland which will be published on a dedicated website, www.42weeks.ie, and a dedicated Pinterest Board, www.pinterest.com/42weeks.
Additionally, the 42 weeks campaign will address some myths about pregnancy and birth in Ireland, so that mums can make informed choices about their care. For example, many mothers often believe that their first baby must be born under consultant-led care in a hospital. The reality is the full range of options are accessible by low risk women in their first pregnancy including midwifery-led care and home-birth.
The campaign began on Sunday Jun 9 and will run for 42 weeks, the length of a pregnancy, ending on Mother’s Day 2014, Sunday 30 March. A number of events and activities will take place during the period including a Birth Gathering in September and a relaunch of the AIMS Ireland survey What Matters To You, which will collate feedback from users’ experience of care in maternity services in Ireland in 2013, updating the results of the original 2009 survey.
If members of the public would like to contribute their stories and photos to the 42 weeks campaign, they can contact 42 weeks directly through our website, www.42weeks.ie, through our Facebook page www.facebook.com/42weeks or on Twitter www.twitter.com/42_weeks. A selection of stories and images are currently available on the site.
Commenting on the call for sharing birth experiences, Krysia Lynch, AIMS Ireland said: “Birth stories have such a powerful impact on expectant mothers. This will be a fantastic resource, specific to birth in Ireland, which will help women ‘see’ what positive birth looks like and understand birth choices through other women’s own words and experiences. We are asking women in Tipperary to share their stories and images with us. Their experience could make a huge difference to other women planning or preparing to have a baby in the county.”