McLeish J, Redshaw M. Mothers' accounts of the impact on emotional wellbeing of organised peer support in pregnancy and early parenthood: a qualitative study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth. 2017a; 17:(28)

McLeish J, Redshaw M. A qualitative study of volunteer doulas working alongside midwives at births in England: mothers' and doulas' experiences. Midwifery. 2017b; 56:53-60

Parents 1st and Institute for Voluntary Action Research. Volunteering and early childhood outcomes. 2016. (accessed25 January 2020)

Renaisi. Parents 1st: impact and measurement. 2016. (accessed25 January 2020)

Spiby H, Green JM, Darwin Z, Wilmot H, Knox D, McLeish J, Smith M. Multi-site implementation of trained volunteer doula support for disadvantaged childbearing women: a mixed methods evaluation. Health Services and Delivery Research. 2015; 3:(8)

Enabling perinatal volunteering

02 April 2020
Volume 28 · Issue 4
 Learning practical baby care skills can boost the confidence of both parents
Learning practical baby care skills can boost the confidence of both parents


Quality peer support has an important contribution to make to the ‘Better Births’ agenda. Celia Suppiah, CEO of Parents 1st UK, explains the reason

There is overwhelming evidence that volunteering and peer support has a unique and valuable contribution to make to ‘Better Births’ outcomes (Spiby et al, 2015; Parents 1st and Institute for Voluntary Action Research, 2016; Renaisi, 2016; McLeish and Redshaw, 2017a; 2017b). Across the country, there are excellent examples of quality peer support initiatives working alongside professionals. Through referring vulnerable women to trusted and well-managed programmes, midwives have a valuable resource at hand to enable a smooth transition through pregnancy, birth and beyond.

Quality peer support initiatives are making real improvements to personalised care. It furhte enhances 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. Volunteers also get a deep sense of personal satisfaction from supporting women during this critical life change.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month