HELPFUL: Midwife Kristy Benjamin with Ashleigh Nielsen and five-month-old Harper Beer.
HELPFUL: Midwife Kristy Benjamin with Ashleigh Nielsen and five-month-old Harper Beer. Alistair Brightman

Mums and Bubs program delivers results

HAVING worked as a midwife for 14 years, Kristy Benjamin knows the ins and outs of the profession.

So when she began working at Galangoor Duwalami Primary Healthcare Service two years ago she recognised there was a growing need for support for mothers, babies and pregnant women in the indigenous community.

Her insights led to the establishment of the the Mums and Bubs program.

"We started running the Mums and Bubs program based on the needs of the community," Ms Benjamin said.

"Since then the program took off and the Public Health Network (PHN) came on board and we got funding so it was quite unexpected."

Ms Benjamin said since the introduction of the program there has been an increase in indigenous babies' birth weights and breastfeeding rates and a significant decrease in gestational diabetes.

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The program, available from the Healthcare Service's Central Ave, Pialba facility offers a range of services.

"There's antenatal care, postnatal care, we help them to provide transport to attend hospital, vaccinations and help with all the pathology collection involved," Ms Benjamin said.

"We can transport them to ultrasounds, we provide nutrition packs for mums and babies with multi vitamins and supplements."

Ms Benjamin is also available to teach new mothers and mothers-to-be how to wrap, bath and breastfeed their baby and can help prepare mums for when their baby arrives.

When the baby is born, that doesn't signal the end of Ms Benjamin's contact with the families.

"Once the baby is born, I follow them through until about 12 to 18 months for postnatal support," she said.

"That way they always have someone there."

Kath Thompson, PHN Operations general manager Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast said lifestyle factors such as smoking during and after pregnancy all have a negative impact on a baby's long-term health.

"It's great to see that local mums in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community are accessing support services that are effective, culturally appropriate and work to prevent future health issues," she said.

"Ensuring the community can access and engage with culturally appropriate maternity care services is an important step towards closing the gap."

For more information on the Mums and Bubs program call 41945554 or visit www.galangoorduwalami.com.au.



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