What is peer support?

Peer support offers a unique and valuable contribution to parents' and babies’ wellbeing.

Not everything needs to be professionalised…there is a way of working with professionals to enhance even further the value they bring. They complement one another. Parents 1st is all about unleashing the potential of parents to help other parents."

Carrie Deacon, Head of Social Action, NESTA

Perinatal peer support, where mums and dads volunteer to help other new parents, offers a unique and invaluable contribution to healthier pregnancies, positive births and the best start for babies.

It offers something different to public services. Informal support and reassurance from another (trained and supervised) parent who listens and builds trust, can make all the difference. It builds confidence, reduces social isolation, helps nip early difficulties in the bud and reduces pressure on maternity and early years services.

It enhances even further the value that professionals bring. We know that when these initiatives are managed, resourced and delivered well, there are huge benefits not only to mothers, fathers, partners, and babies but also to professionals involved in their care.

Through the reassurance of lived experience, peer supporters can reach and be accepted by parents, some of whom may be reluctant to engage with professionals: 

I am not good with things being taken out of my control. So, when I became pregnant again, other people set up appointments for me with midwives, doctors, consultants, nurses and other health professionals without telling me what they were for. I found this very confusing and I felt extremely helpless and alone...I was matched with a Pregnancy Pal. She was there for me at every step throughout my pregnancy and beyond. I could tell her anything and sometimes we would just chat. She would go with me to all medical appointments and help me understand what was happening."

Parent

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