The atmosphere was electric as over 250 people came together to explore and celebrate positive birth in Belfast. 

 Northern Ireland’s first Positive Birth Conference celebrated its huge success as over 250 people joined together at the Hilton Hotel in Belfast to discuss and explore how women and their care providers can collaborate to ensure every family has the best chance at a positive birth experience.

“The aim of this conference was to bring together health professionals, parents and voluntary groups to get everyone on the same page when it comes to the parents’ experience of birth” said Michelle Bradley, Owner of ALC Events. “We wanted to highlight the importance of compassionate care and involving women in their experience, making sure that they felt they were part of the process instead of a body on a bed with no choices. The conference wasn’t about ‘how’ you give birth, but to show that regardless of how a baby is born, that the woman can be respected and empowered to prevent trauma and difficulties later down the line.”

As part of the conference, the inaugural NI Positive Birth Awards took place, recognising and celebrating those organisations and individuals who are making a real difference to the birth experiences of women in Northern Ireland. One award in particular stood out, the Recognition of Special Services to Women Award which was presented to Dr. Niamh McCabe from the Royal Jubilee Maternity Services. One of the women who nominated Dr. McCabe said: “After a previous traumatic birth I was petrified to go through about again. The care I received from Dr. McCabe changed my life in so many ways. I gained so much power and confidence from my second birth  and I’ve been able to use that to make amazing changes. The aftercare I received was amazing and I feel Dr McCabe’s work is a very important part of the shift towards respect for women and their babies, moving away from unnecessary interventions towards evidence based care as the norm”. (Full list of award winners below)

One of the event attendees said “The conference has restored my faith in humanity! At times as a midwife you can feel so alone but knowing there ARE others out there who want to make change is enough to reignite that lost spark.”

Award Winners:

Excellence in Midwifery:
Winner: Seana Kerr

Highly Commended: Shona Hamilton

Excellence in Obstetric Care:
Winner: Dr Niamh McCabe

Highly Commended: Inez Cooke

Doula of Distinction:
Winner: Anne Glover

Highly Commended: Sara Benetti

Best Maternity Unit/Birth Centre:
Winner: Lagan Valley MLU

Highly Commended: Mater MLU

Best Initiative/Group/Clinic:
Winner: Social Wellbeing Antenatal Clinic (Belfast Trust)
Highly Commended: EITP Getting Ready for Baby Midwives (Northern Trust)

Team of the Year:
Winner: Northern Trust Community Midwives
Highly Commended: Banbridge Community Midwives

Community Care Award:
WInner: Jess Higgns (Daisy Foundation)
Highly Commended: Marie Clarke

Breastfeeding Support:
Winner: Carol Smyth
Highly Commended: Oonagh Kelly

Maternity Support Worker:
Winner: Marie Hanna
Highly Commended: Caroline Barclay

Recognition of Special Services to Women
Winner: Dr Niamh McCabe

About ALC Events
ALC Events is an event management company set up in 2018 by Michelle Bradley. The company specialises in events and conferences that promote issues of social well-being but also runs corporate events and training workshops. ALC Events were recently involved in running the hugely successful NI Maternal Mental Health Conference which took place on 3rd May 2018 to a sold-out audience of nearly 300 people. For more information visit the website:
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