Student Midwife Nominated for Prestigious National Award

A final-year student midwife at the University of Worcester has been nominated for the 2018 Mama Academy Breastfeeding Champion of the Year award.

Marie Rivett, 39, from Redditch, worked as flight attendant for 14 years before a moment of realisation changed the direction her life was to take.

“When I had children of my own I really began to think about how important it was that they - that all children - should have the best possible start in life,” she said. “I left my job and began working voluntarily with new mums, before securing a paid job as a breast feeding support worker.”

“Immediately I knew I wanted to train to be a midwife, but I thought it best to wait until my children were a little older,” she added.

After supporting her two children, now 9 and 5 years old, through their early years, Marie set about making her dream a reality by successfully securing a place on the University of Worcester’s Midwifery degree.

“Since I started my training things have gone better than I could possibly have imagined,” Marie said. “I have had five articles published and I’ve even presented my work at the Unicef Baby Friendly International Conference. I’ve looked at intrapartum interventions (what we do during labour) and how that effects breastfeeding initiation. I’ve also looked at how breastfeeding can protect women’s emotional health, and my latest work is looking at pre-term babies and how we can better support mothers of premature babies who wish to breastfeed.”

Marie’s academic success is matched by her determination to ensure that the evidence gathered by research is implemented effectively in the real world.

“If it was just me saying these things, no one would listen,” she said. “But the evidence is there, and you can’t argue with the facts.”

“Ultimately I think it’s a culture change that we need,” Marie added. “Do we, as healthcare professionals, assign enough value to human milk? I’d like to see a change so that we see human milk not as food, but as a personalised form of medicine for your baby. If we have more info and support out there, then women will be in a better position to make an informed choice.”

Marie will find out if she has been successful when the Mama Academy awards are presented at a glittering ceremony in Glasgow on May 4th.

“I’m looking forward to the awards night,” she said. “My children are my biggest cheerleaders, and they are very supportive and proud of my achievements. This, together with my passion to promote the health and wellbeing of mothers and their babies, drives me to do more.”