A new service providing targeted support for Black, Asian, and Mixed ethnicity expectant mothers has been launched in Peterborough.

The Mothers United for Maternity and Mental Health Action (MUMMA) will offer a range of services including breastfeeding support, tailored antenatal classes, the opportunity to meet and socialise with other parents in the area, storytelling sessions, and ongoing mental health support.   

Specifically catering for those who are planning a family, MUMMA provides specialist help and support to those who are currently pregnant or have a child under the age of two. 

The scheme is a partnership between the children’s charity Barnardo’s, Raham Project, and CPSL Mind, a mental health charity promoting positive health across Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, and South Lincolnshire.

Rukshana Kapasi, Barnardo’s director of health said: “Sadly, we know all too well how Black mothers struggle to get antenatal and maternity care which respects and supports their own cultural views, wishes, and nuances.

“This can lead to poor mental and physical health for them and their young children in such formative years of their lives. We hope that MUMMA can provide an apt solution through specialist, considerate and culturally sensitive care which puts the true needs of such families at the heart of all that is on offer.” 

In Peterborough, preterm births, miscarriage, and termination rates are notably higher for Black people than for white people in the area, which is reflected on a national scale.

Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women in the UK. In a bid to tackle this, MUMMA will run for an initial pilot until October ahead of plans for it to be implemented permanently in the region and elsewhere across the UK. 

Faiza Rehman, founder of the Raham Project and a practising midwife, said: “As a mother-of-two, I know both professionally and personally how important it is to create safe and non-judgemental spaces for mothers and partners from ethnic communities. 

“Becoming a parent is such an important time in a family’s life so it is vital to have the care and support network that MUMMA will provide to ensure that everyone is happy and healthy from day one and beyond.”