A new, free programme offering support to mums-to-be under 20 years old has been launched by the Northern Trust.
Family Nurse Partnership is an intensive support programme offered from pregnancy until the baby is two.
The programme consists of over 60 home visits over the two year period lasting around 60-90 minutes and offering support over six main areas; physical health, maternal role, environment, family and friends, health and human services and life course development.
Carla, age 17, from Portglenone is full of praise for the new programme.
She said: “From the first day Tanya, my Family Nurse, started to visit me, she has helped me so much.
“She got me ready for what was ahead of me. She gave me brilliant advice and had an answer for every question I asked. She built up my confidence again and made me believe in myself that I could raise my little boy. I am so happy I agreed to take part in the programme.
“Everything that Tanya went through with me has helped me a lot especially in labour and with my relationship. I am so thankful for all the help and I appreciate it so much.”
This support is in addition to routine midwife and hospital appointments during pregnancy. A specially trained family nurse visits the mum-to-be in their own home and shares information about pregnancy, giving birth and looking after a baby and toddler. This helps young mums prepare and make informed choices that are right for them and their family. The programme focuses on the mum and what she wants to discuss but will also include dads and grandparents, if the mum wishes.
Joanne McCann, Family Nurse Partnership Supervisor for the Northern Trust said, “The aim of the programme is to support mums to make positive changes antenatally which will improve pregnancy outcomes, improve child health and development, assist the family in becoming more financially secure and to encourage education and development for both the mum and baby. Each situation is different and help provided is unique to that person.”
“FNP acknowledges that the young person is the expert in their own life. The nurses use techniques to guide the participants to make their own informed decisions regarding their lifestyle choices. The programme helps them to explore their dreams and identify what steps can be taken to make them a reality. We are there to help and guide and give them the knowledge they need to be independent and the best parents they can be.”
Tanszie from Ballyclare, age 19, mum to Lexi said: “I’ve really enjoyed the Family Nurse Partnership, it’s really improved my confidence in being a young mum and Valerie, my Family Nurse, has helped both me and Lexi so much. Whenever Lexi was born I was struggling because she wasn’t latching on to the breast and she was losing weight. If it wasn’t for Valerie I don’t think I would have persevered with breastfeeding but one day she latched on and now she’s a happy, healthy wee baby. Valerie also referred us to get housing support and I was able to get a new house, before this I was living in a ground floor flat with no room and was very downhearted about bringing Lexi up in it. Since Valerie’s been in my life she’s been someone I can turn to whenever I’m having a bad day or if I’m stressed out, I can talk to her.”
Natalie, aged 20, from Coleraine is mum to Mason and received support from FNP said: “When I got referred to the Family Nurse Partnership, I initially had antenatal depression. I started feeling more self-conscious as I went through my pregnancy. My Family Nurse, Bernie, helped me to realise the important thing is how you feel about yourself as a person and that my little boy is happy.”
“Bernie helped me to prepare for labour and discussed with me the various options available which helped me to decide on a waterbirth. She also helped me afterwards with breastfeeding and getting bottles prepared when I decided to stop breastfeeding. I wouldn’t have known any of this if it wasn’t for Bernie. The Family Nurse Partnership has helped me significantly.”
The Northern Trust is the first to offer the Family Nurse Partnership programme Trust wide. Referrals are accepted directly from mums-to-be who are under 20 years old, having their first baby and are referred before 26 weeks gestation. Referrals can also be made by GPs and voluntary or statutory agencies with the young person’s permission.
If you are interested in finding out more or getting support from FNP email firstname.lastname@example.org.