Northern Trust offers extra support to young mums-to-be

Pictured at the Northern Trust launch event for the Family Nurse Partnership are Gabrielle Moore from Coleraine with baby Nina and Tanya Flanagan, Family Nurse.
Pictured at the Northern Trust launch event for the Family Nurse Partnership are Gabrielle Moore from Coleraine with baby Nina and Tanya Flanagan, Family Nurse.

The Northern Trust has launched The Family Nurse Partnership (FNP) across the Trust area, a new, free programme offering support to mums-to-be under 20 years old.

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. This support is in addition to their routine midwife and hospital appointments during pregnancy.

Natalie Loveday from Coleraine with baby Mason.

Natalie Loveday from Coleraine with baby Mason.

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.”

Carla, age 17, from Portglenone 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.”

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Natalie, aged 20, from Coleraine is mum to Mason, she 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 joanne.mccann@northerntrust.hscni.net.