Who we help

Each  year,  millions  of women  and  children  die from  preventable  causes.  These  are not  mere  statistics.  They  are people  with  names  and  faces.

– Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General

Our story

All ideas are conceived somehow; a few get the chance to grow, develop into something tangible and some are lucky enough to be born into the world. Pregnancy Twinning is one of these ideas. After reading about maternal mortality in a book called Half The Sky, two friends discovered that there was a price you could place on a safe birth, a price that perhaps parents here in the UK could cover – a price that is shockingly low.

Our wonderful volunteers!

Since that conversation and that contagious idea that connecting people can bring about real change, the Pregnancy Twinning initiative has been rolled out through Chasing Zero and with Tearfund partners to operate across Malawi and Sierra Leone through 60 of their trained, local volunteers called Mother Buddies. In these countries where maternal and infant deaths are far too common, we support mums to overcome the main preventable barriers to a healthy pregnancy.

We’ve now been part of hundreds of birth journeys, and we truly believe the beauty of Pregnancy Twinning is the transformative power of mums supporting mums.  Mums who are sharing across continents the emotions of bringing a new life safely into the world. Mums who are carrying the next generation. Mums who are embarking on a journey together.

Through this shared experience these women are equals, however their day-to-day context looks.

Here at Pregnancy Twinning we’re driven by a deep sense of indignation that, despite this, there is massive inequality of maternal care around the globe.

That’s what we want to change. With an integrated, community-based approach to maternal health care, Pregnancy Twinning is standing against this inequality, aiming to leave no-one behind, and reaching out a hand to mums across the world. Will you join us?

Got questions? Ask us on info@pregnancytwinning.org

Mary's story

Mary was 19 years old when she fell pregnant. By this age she had watched as friends and neighbours died during childbirth, had sat with women and grieved with them when they lost their babies. What’s more, she knew she was HIV positive and believed that meant her child would be too. Living 20 miles away from the nearest clinic with no midwife or health visitor to turn to with her fears she knew she needed support.

Support came through a local mum called Eunice. Eunice is a Mother Buddy (Pregnancy Twinning’s feet on the ground) working in Mary’s area. Her role is to provide advice and a listening ear to pregnant women. Thanks to Pregnancy Twinning, Eunice was able to visit Mary regularly and her input had a huge impact. Mary says,

“She taught me how to live without worries about my HIV status during pregnancy. Without the help and advice I got I would have probably delivered at home. I gave birth safely at the hospital to a healthy child. Everyone around me is happy to see me having a happier life.”

Mary’s story doesn’t stop there. Having given birth to a healthy child, Mary was inspired to become a Mother Buddy just like Eunice. She now provides practical guidance, emotional support and counselling to other pregnant women in her community and as a local mother, others trust her and follow her advice. More women can now be supported through Pregnancy Twinning to have a safe, healthy pregnancy and birth, thanks to Mary.

Grace's story

It was an unusually grey October afternoon when we had the pleasure of first meeting Grace. The rainy season had started to tiptoe in, and meanwhile a miracle was occurring in one of the local hospitals. A child was being born. Into a world where 34 million people are currently living with HIV. Grace’s mother is one such person among this overwhelming figure – not a statistic, but a real, breathing, talking person.

The danger that faced Grace, and what her mother feared most, was the HIV virus passing from mother to child. 50% of children born with HIV do not make it beyond their 2nd birthday.

But Pregnancy Twinning ensured that Grace’s mother gave birth at the local hospital whilst receiving HIV treatment and care at the critical time. The result? Grace was born HIV-free.

Hidden among a bundle of blankets was the most beautiful baby girl, Grace. The smiles in the room from her mother, father and siblings were enough to tell us that this child really was extraordinary. The birth had gone well, and a few weeks later we received confirmation that Grace was HIV-free!

Deborah's story

Deborah (left) is from a Southern region in Malawi, where 1 in 7 people are living with HIV and where women are 70 times more likely to die during childbirth than in the United Kingdom. She spends her day drawing water, washing clothes, cooking and doing jobs around the home.

In 2007, after her health started to rapidly deteriorate, Deborah was tested for HIV. She received the result no-one wants to hear. HIV positive. She was advised to start treatment straight away.

Years later she got a very different positive result. Pregnant. It was the start of many concerns for Deborah about the future of her child; transmitting HIV from mother to child can have a devastating effect and 50% of children born with HIV do not get to see their 2nd birthday.

Now, meet Emma (right). A trained Mother Buddy, Emma is one of Pregnancy Twinning’s feet on the ground. She has four children of her own and lives in a nearby village. She is also HIV positive, and has given birth to HIV-free children through getting the right advice and treatment, when she discovered she was living with HIV, her husband refused to be tested and abandoned her and their four children.

Emma now supports other mothers, like Deborah, in her community. She visits Deborah regularly and has done throughout her pregnancy – providing practical advice, emotional support and counselling to Deborah and her husband.

 “The first thing I do is share my story, that the only reason I am here is because of following advice. Then they are assured and can trust me,” Emma explains.

Peer relationships built on trust over the entire course of a family’s pregnancy are at the core of Pregnancy Twinning.The difference that makes? Well… meet Edward, Deborah’s first child whom she gave birth to in a hospital. HIV-free.

Meet The Mums Series

Since I was supported I have also supported two HIV+ pregnant women in my village – I have shared with them what I was taught. Today if you visit these two women you will see that they have good health and their children were born HIV negative all because of the Pregnancy Twinning intervention.

Mariam

Southern Malawi

My baby was born HIV negative. My husband and I did not know that this was possible, or that an HIV positive mother can breastfeed. This programme needs to continue so that it can reach other pregnant women in this village. Our elders are happy that we are visiting the hospital and that we are being visited here at home.

Janet

Northern Malawi

My husband was also given advice about preparing for delivery, he was able to support me through pregnancy which even benefitted my neighbours! Men in this village who do not support their pregnant wives so my husband was a good role model because of what he learnt.

Ularia

Southern Malawi
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PREGNANCY TWINNING IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE

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