A NEW website has been launched for women and their families in East Lancashire to provide birthing support and advice online.

Backed by midwives, the Birth in East Lancs group has now become an important source of interaction for mothers, fathers and grandparents in the area.

The website is not owned or managed by maternity services, but by a group that formed to provide support through childbirth and after the baby is born.

Louise Dunn, an NCT breastfeeding counsellor and a East Lancs group member, said that women were interacting together through forums and social media more than ever.

“The website bridges a gap between women and midwives and it’s a great place to meet other mums and share birthing experiences.

“We started off as a Facebook group and people communicated through that. The website came next and now we are looking to expand it,” she said.

Louise joined five other people when Blackburn and Burnley maternity facilities were changing to get the opinions of local families on the developments.

She said: “It’s important to have a birthing service website from the woman’s point of view, rather than a health professional’s. Community midwives aren’t on hand as much as they used to be, so we are here to provide that peer support.

“There’s a section for dads too, because they are just as important.”

On the website there’s a list of local groups and contacts and blogs from mums in the area. Sheena Byrom, former head of East Lancashire midwifery services, supports women on the website, along with Louise, Amanda Chinery, Rachel Harridine, Alex Sevens-Jones and Sarah Johnson.

She said: “I was asked to join the group and it was important to find out what women wanted and more communication was key.

“I am in the group because I’m a grandma, but I am also a link to hospital and if there are any problems I can help mums get better access.”

For more information, visit www.birthineastlancs.com.