Maternal support: Independent midwifery services being introduced in Seychelles |12 October 2021
In the following interview, we learn about the upcoming services that will soon be offered by Loréa Rassool, independent midwife and founder of ‘Loréa Sage-femme’ midwifery practice.
Seychelles NATION: Tell us about your professional background in midwifery.
Loréa Rassool: I am a midwife who trained in Montpellier (Faculté de Médecine de Montpellier et Ecole de sage-femme de Montpellier) France and graduated in 2011 as a “Sage-femme diplômée d’Etat” (Master in Midwifery). To become a midwife in France, you have to do one year at the University of Medicine and pass the entrance examination before being accepted into the midwifery school. From there, the course is 4 years.
When I came back to Seychelles, I worked at the Ministry of Health (MoH) for 6 months, before opening my private practice ‘Cabinet Isis’ and did a few more trainings in :
- Prenatal Yoga: Yoga en Périnatalité in Bordeaux - France (2012)
- Pelvic floor rehabilitation: Rééducation périnéale et uro-gynécologique in Lyon - France (2012)
- Family planning and gynecologic care: Suivi gynécologique et contraception in Paris - France (2014)
In 2016, I decided to close my private practice for multiple reasons and worked in different fields. Being a midwife however is a job of passion and after not practicing for 4 years, I decided to go back to what I love.
To be able to re-practice, I was asked by the Nurse and Midwives Council to do 460 hours of return to practice to renew my licence. I started in March 2021 and did all the hours in different structures of the MoH. Now that my licence has been renewed (August 2021) with the Nurse and Midwives Council, I will be working part time with the MoH and as an independent midwife.
Seychelles NATION: What services will you be offering as an independent midwife?
Loréa Rassool: The idea is to propose private and group classes and sessions, as well as online sessions if possible. With the restrictions due to Covid-19, I will have to work accordingly. For now, I will be mobile as I do not have a place.
I will be offering prenatal and postnatal services, family planning services, pelvic floor rehabilitation, home visits (prenatal and postnatal consultations, breastfeeding consultations, prenatal classes, breathing and posture classes, etc) as well as prenatal water classes at the beach or a private pool.
I will also offer prenatal Yoga classes; I have a special training as a midwife to teach yoga. I am a midwife who teaches yoga, not a Yoga teacher, so my approach is centred on the pregnancy, the breathing, the postures to help all the “maux de la grossesse“ (pregnancy discomforts) and to prepare for the birth and the delivery.
I also want to make sure that there are postnatal home follow-ups, as nowadays it is very difficult for midwives from the MoH to go and help new parents at their homes when they are discharged from hospital. It can be quite stressful and worrying when you do not have a professional by your side. The MoH will definitely assist in case of emergency, but they can’t assure postnatal home visits easily nowadays.
Seychelles NATION: Why do you feel it’s important for people to have this type of support?
Loréa Rassool: I am convinced that preparation and education before, during and after pregnancy is primordial. A couple, a future mother or father who have the right information will be more confident, will know what to do and know when to ask for medical help.
The pandemic has made it very difficult for future parents to access information and they often come to the labour room without any knowledge. Labour is a beautiful process, but it can be scary and traumatising if you do not know what to expect and what to do, for example when dealing with the contractions and pain.
Our role as midwives is important; it is a medical profession and we perform medical acts, but we are also there to educate, inform and assist patients throughout their pregnancy, delivery, postnatal period and family planning life. We are working with women and couples to assist them in the best way to answer their questions and doubts, to help them with their newborns, and to make sure they become confident and loving parents.
I strongly believe that if a couple has a pregnancy where they feel safe and confident, a delivery where they have information and trust, a postnatal period where they can ask for help and assistance, they will visit the clinic or hospital less, they will need less medical procedures, they will be more efficient at work, etc.
For those who have children, we all know how amazing a child is, but we also know how everything changes. As midwives, we have to make sure that these changes are positive and that we are there to help and fix things when necessary.
A simple example can be breastfeeding; we all know today that breastfeeding is the best for a newborn, that it has so many benefits and that it is also the best for the mother’s health. It has now become a pressure on new mothers to breastfeed their newborns, despite any discomfort or pain.
Many women will stop breastfeeding when they get home because they cannot cope. Most of the time the pain or discomfort is caused by the “wrong posture” or the baby’s mouth is not open properly, or the baby is not straight enough or is not in-front of the nipple properly. These are very common things that a midwife can assist a mother with and can make sure she enjoys breastfeeding, and continues giving the best to her newborn.
Seychelles NATION: Why did you decide to become a midwife and to provide this type of support?
Loréa Rassool: Because I am very passionate. Because I believe that there is a need and a demand. Because the MoH cannot do it all and we need to help and assist to contribute to a good health system for patients in Seychelles.
I also believe that people are more and more aware of the importance of taking care of their health; I have been talking to many people who have all told me how going back home without the assistance of a professional health worker was difficult, stressful and traumatising. Many new parents have also explained to me how the birth of their child was difficult as they were stressed and did not know what to expect.
Also, for a medical professional, it is demanding and time consuming to try and educate a patient while they are admitted during their pregnancy, or in labour, or in the postnatal ward for a few days. The midwives are extremely busy, there are so many patients and not so many staff, plus the women are tired and exhausted, and there is only so much information they can listen to and understand.
So my role will be to educate them before and during their pregnancy, to help them at home afterwards, and to give them all the help and support required.
Seychelles NATION: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
Loréa Rassool: There is one service that I would like to talk about – pelvic floor rehabilitation. During pregnancy and after giving birth, many women experience trouble and can notice a weakness in their pelvic floor. For a few of them, everything will go back to normal after a few weeks, but for a large proportion of women, they will continue to experience weakness in their perineum, accidentally wee without being able to control (when they dance, walk, run or jump) and experience pain when having sexual intercourse.
For some women, the problem will only appear after many years and it is only during menopause that they start having symptoms. As a midwife, I can work with women from 6-8 weeks after their delivery or C-section to fix and prevent these troubles.
In some rare cases, only surgery will help, but for most of the women we work manually or with a small machine, and after a few sessions they feel so much better and they regain their quality of life. These troubles often affect women’s “femininity” and working on them helps bring back their self-confidence.
In France, every woman after giving birth will have pelvic floor rehabilitation sessions (between 4 to 10 sessions for most); it has shown a decrease in the complaints from women with these troubles or in the surgeries required.
For more information, contact Loréa Sage-femme:
- Facebook: @loreasagefemme
- Instagram: @loreasagefemme
- Email: email@example.com
- Telephone/WhatsApp: 00 248 2510 155