“My dream is to educate and empower all expecting parents and care providers, regardless of location, education, background or gender,” says Edwina Sharrock, founder of Birth Beat, a Tamworth based startup whose mission is to provide a better birth experience for all.
“The experience of childbirth is foundational for a family and improving birth experiences and outcomes is about rebuilding the village,” Edwina tells Kochie’s Business Builders (KBB). “It is about the bigger community and the journey that we go on to bring new life into this world. It is about helping support a healthy start to life for our future generations.”
A registered nurse and midwife, Edwina’s says she was inspired to create Birth Beat after recognising there was a lack of independent education available in her hometown of Tamworth. This lack of education was putting both mothers and children at risk.
“It’s a little known fact that 41 per cent of Maternity units in Australia have closed their doors in the last 15 years – this not only limits options for where women can birth it also reduces access to childbirth education. For many women and their partners, there is simply nowhere for them to attend classes anymore,” Edwina comments.
In Australia, recent stats show the current perinatal mortality rate is 2,225 stillbirths and 796 babies who die within a month of birth. This equates to 6.7 deaths per 1000 live births. Yet prior to Birth Beat, little was being done in the wider community to address these statistics.
“Evidence shows that access to quality childbirth education reduces caesarean sections rates, perineal trauma, birth trauma and resuscitation of newborns,” Edwina states. “Also, those men and women who report having a positive birth experience have a reduced likelihood of postnatal depression and anxiety and an increased success rate of breastfeeding their baby,” says Edwina.
Postnatal depression and anxiety effect up to one in ten new mums and one in 20 new dads. This has significant flow-on effects on family and social life as well as financially for families, employers and the healthcare system.
“By creating online evidence-based childbirth education and baby and child first aid courses, Birth Beat can improve education and empowerment for all preparing for birth and parenthood. We focus on reducing perinatal depression and anxiety and decreasing morbidity and mortality of the Mother and Child.”
By using an online platform to create her offering and cloud-based software to manage the business, Edwina says she and Team Birth Beat (part-time Marketing Comms Manager Jess and Executive Assistant Mikala) are innovating far from the big-smoke in country Tamworth.
“We’re serving a national market and with our sights set on international expansion in the coming years.”
To date, Birth Beat has worked with over 1000 parents through their Ultimate Online Prenatal Program as well as a Premium Online Baby & Child First Aid Program.
“Birth Beat is building better, bolder communities with our 100 per cent online education that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. The format is short videos and downloadables which can be altered to be tailored and culturally appropriate and in other languages and cultures. With over 14 hours of video content plus additional resources and a soon-to-be-released Birth Beat Workbook (a comprehensive guide to accompany the online course), couples can now feel prepared and empowered with all the knowledge they need to prepare for childbirth as well as care for a newborn with topics including breastfeeding support, sleep and settle, safe bathing and more.”
This article first appeared on www.kochiesbusinessbuilders.com.au as part of their Regional Heroes initiative.