Offering extra maternity care support for women whose first language isn’t English

Afrah Muflihi, a member of the Willow team, working for Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust has worked hard to deliver a personalised service for women and their families within the community, particularly for new migrants and those who don’t speak English as a first language.

“Our service follows the Better Births principles which focus on personalised care, centred on the woman, her baby and her family. As a team we work to support women in all areas of maternity care” explains Afrah.

“Many people within the communities we serve don’t speak English as a first language and we felt the services we offered were not fully meeting their needs.” Afrah and the team began a scoping exercise
to identify women’s and families’ needs.

“If a mother is unable to communicate in English then this is a risk, particularly when the mother is going into labour or suffering with pregnancy related complications, and needs to contact the maternity
team but does not have the language skills to communicate. We have developed a very personalised maternity care package for these women” says Afrah. “This includes running an informal ‘English for
pregnancy and birth’ class which involves role play sessions to practice key words in English to enable non-English speaking women and families to better understand and express themselves during
pregnancy, birth and beyond. We saw that many of the women were new migrants with limited financial means.

We are able to adapt the care we provide through visiting women in their homes if they don’t have
access to transport to attend appointments. We also put women in touch with local voluntary
organisations who can help provide baby items and equipment.” The continuity of care ethos also means that Afrah and the team are able to support women throughout all stages of pregnancy, their birth
experience and postnatal care.

“I feel like we are empowering our women and families through delivering this service. I also feel empowered as a professional as I have been able to use my voice to make improvements and enact change within the Trust.”



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