Friday, 18 October 2013

Yoga & conversation program for aboriginal mothers is effective

Frances Doran 125A new program for Aboriginal mothers in northern Queensland has proved to be successful, Dr Frances Doran from Southern Cross University (SCU) told a panel of academics on October 15.

The initiative, called the Pregnancy and Post-Natal Group (PPNG) brought small groups of expectant and new mothers together for yoga classes, conversation about their pregnancy, and access to educational material once a week.

“Many of these women wouldn’t have accessed health care support otherwise,” Dr Doran explained.

It was based on a similar program that operated in collaboration with the Bullinah Aboriginal Health Services. Bullinah has kept the program operating, even though grant funding has now ended.

Participants rated the various elements of the program either ‘effective’ or ‘very effective.’

“In this space, pregnancy was normalised,” one woman reported.  Another expressed her gratitude for having a “little pocket” to enjoy her pregnancy in the company of other women.

Positive benefits of participation included a reduction in post-partum depression and the feeling of a nurturing, feminine environment.   Dr Doran stressed the importance of community involvement in these services.

Dr Doran shared photos of the farewell party held at the conclusion of SCU’s involvement in PPNG.

“This photo won’t mean anything to any of you,” she laughed, “but you have no idea what it means to me.”

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