Social media savvy midwife takes ‘skin-to-skin’ campaign to Twitter
Jenny Clarke, known by her Twitter handle @JennytheM, has been using social media to focus on the benefits of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and new born babies.
UNICEF, the World Health Organization and the National Institute for Health Care Excellence recommend the “skin-to-skin” philosophy in their guidelines.
But Ms Clark, who works at Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said she started tweeting as a midwife because people were not “getting” the ethos of the idea.
“I love Twitter because it’s instant. I get students talking to me all the time about skin to skin”
Her slogan “Skin to Skin Switches on Babies’ Brains” advocates that every new born baby be placed flat on their mother’s chest.
“The baby will crawl to the breast,” she said. “The baby is a lock and the mother is the key. Put them together and a something special happens. The contact unlocks the baby’s brain and starts its developmental processes.”
This closeness results in physiological and mental health benefits that cannot be replaced by modern medicine, according to Ms Clark.
She now has followers as far away as Nigeria and Australia and one of her tweets was recently put up at the International Confederation of Midwives’s congress in Prague.
Ms Clark said: “I started off tweeting as a mum and now I do it as a midwife.
“I love Twitter because it’s instant. I get students talking to me all the time about skin-to-skin. I even get messages from surgeons,” she said. “It’s great that people are picking up on what I am saying.”
Ms Clark noted that successful skin-to-skin contact required keen members of staff and a calm atmosphere.
“If women are introduced to the idea, they can see the phenomenal benefits,” she said. “Skin to skin is beneficial for every baby that is born.
She said the idea could also help when women had mental health issues linked to birth and could “make them feel differently”.
In addition, she suggested women who had undergone a caesarean could also be catered for. “There are some barriers, but it’s usually possible,” she said. “We’ve been doing skin-to-skin in theatre for about six years.”