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Amma Birth Companions 2019

Amma Birth Companions is a charity registered in Scotland (SC049280)

Amma is generously funded by:

Our Founders

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For more than a decade,

Sarah has worked to support vulnerable people

in the asylum process and those with insecure immigration status. 
 

Through her previous role at the British Red Cross, Sarah was responsible for both safeguarding and managing services for asylum seekers and refugees with particularly complex situations and vulnerabilities.  
 

It was during this time that she also established the Mums Project—an initiative that supported asylum seeking pregnant women and developed a partnership with volunteer doulas.   
 

Although the impact of this partnership was clear, it could only meet a fraction of the need.

 

Sarah was determined to ensure that vulnerable asylum seeking and refugee women could continue to access the support needed to achieve a positive birth experience—and thus she worked with Helen to co-found Amma.

Today, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of Amma, overseeing a team of 15 birth companions and other volunteers.

Sarah Zadik

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Helen has been supporting and educating birthing women for more than 30 years.

Having initially studied to be a midwife, Helen went on to support underprivileged women at a birthing home in the Philippines. Eventually, she trained as a doula to an advanced level.

 

Helen spent more than five years volunteering as a doula in partnership with the British Red Cross Mums Project. Through the Mums Project, she provided pregnancy and birth support to asylum seeking and refugee women. 

Helen's involvement with the Mums Project highlighted for her an urgent need to continue offering this service to vulnerable women in Glasgow.   

Driven by a passion to help asylum seeking and refugee women birth safely and with support, Helen embraced the opportunity to found Amma. 

Now, in addition to providing oversight of the organisation, Helen applies her decades of birth experience to help mentor Amma's volunteer birth companions. 

Helen MacDonald



Our dedicated team of 15 volunteer birth companions are trained to support women throughout pregnancy, birth, and for the first few weeks after baby arrives.
 

Together, they form a close-knit, compassionate and diverse group of individuals—each with a shared desire to help women achieve the best birth experience possible. 

 

Many of our birth companions originate from countries outside of the UK and are able to offer culturally-appropriate support in a wide array of languages that includes Spanish, Arabic, Kurdish (Sorani), Ibo, Yoruba and more. 
 

 

Birth Companions



Each one of our birth companions is overseen by a mentor. Our mentors have significant experience of supporting women through pregnancy and birth, whether that be as a midwife, doula or NCT practitioner. They are there to offer professional guidance and support and to ensure best practice. Our mentors also play an important role in educating birth companions through regular group training sessions. 

Mentors

Group Supervisor

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Dr Rachel Fraser is an experienced clinical psychologist based in Glasgow, and is fully registered with The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

She has worked in multiple NHS contexts which include Mother & Baby, Community Mental Health, Psychiatric Crisis and Acute Inpatient settings. She has also some years’ experience as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist for an expert witness organisation in the Family Court assessment of complex families in matters pertaining to parenting, trauma, development and family assessment.

 

Rachel trained to doctoral level in Clinical Psychology at the University of Essex/ Tavistock Clinic, where she undertook research at the Anna Freud Centre on the quality of the mother-infant relationship as part of their Parent-Infant Psychotherapy Programme under supervision of Prof Peter Fonagy. She is trained in Reflective Parenting, Mentalisation-based Therapy, Behavioural Family Therapy and the Emotional Availability Scales (parent-infant interaction).

 

As well as Clinical Psychology training, Rachel completed a Mental Health MSc at King’s College London/ Institute of Psychiatry with a specialism in psychodynamic psychotherapy.
 

Rachel is currently employed as the NHS Clinical Lead of a large pilot site for the Scottish Government-funded Distress Brief Intervention programme, an innovative service for those who present to services experiencing high distress.

Dr. Rachel Fraser

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