The students work in pairs as ‘buddies’ during three educational periods to support vulnerable pregnant women who live in deprived neighbourhoods in the southern part of Rotterdam. The main task of these students is to provide support to these women. They answer questions such as: What do I need to take care of the baby? Where is the entrance of the hospital when I must give birth at night? What are the advantages of lactation compared to bottle-feeding? And how can I receive financial support?
Also they show these pregnant women and mothers where they can meet other mothers, where they can walk with their babies and/or where playgrounds are. Other examples of their support are explaining how the care system is organised and organising information meetings for these women by the students themselves.
This programme is based on the buddy-programme of the Artevelde University College Ghent, Belgium. As described above, a couple of two students support a vulnerable pregnant woman during three educational periods.
The students start with an educational programme in which they are linked to each other and form pairs, learn coaching skills and gain insight in basic knowledge about social work and midwifery. In addition, they will follow (guest) lessons to gain more insight into urban maternal and perinatal health. Via the midwife, the buddy-pairs are linked to a vulnerable pregnant woman. After their visits with the pregnant woman, the students report directly to the midwife.
The aim of the programme is to improve the well-being of this vulnerable group. For students, it is an opportunity to gain more knowledge about vulnerable pregnancies and to cooperate with another discipline. The project is evaluated via questionnaires, interviews and focusgroups. Fourth-year students of various RUAS study programmes are involved in this research via their minor or their thesis.
The evaluation study of this programme has three different pillars:
- Pregnant women: to what extent does this programme contribute to well-being of the pregnant woman and the experienced capability in motherhood?
- Students: what issues do students face and what kind of experiences have they gained?
- Professionals: how satisfied are the professional caregivers (midwives) who are involved?