MANY mums-to-be face the prospect of going through labour on their own, without a partner, or family member.

But Amanda Chinery, of Bute Road, Shadsworth, Blackburn, works tirelessly to ensure women have someone to depend on.

Now she has been named in a shortlist of just three women nominated for Doula Of the Year for her work in helping vulnerable women through childbirth.

The MaMa Conference Awards will be held at the end of this month in Glasgow, and will recognise those making an outstanding contribution in midwifery and maternity care.

Amanda, 42, first trained as a doula in 2007, after giving birth to her third child. Doula, pronounced ‘doo-la’ means ‘woman caregiver’.

The word doula is Greek and has been adopted as the name of a carer for women during pregnancy.

Doulas give practical and emotional support to women, and families, during pregnancy, childbirth, and also post-natally.

Amanda has three children, Atlanta, 20, Mackenzie, 18, and Lula, 10, and was motivated to help other women after enjoying a supportive experience during her third pregnancy.

She said: “I had post-natal depression with my second child, but I didn’t with my third, because there was a package put around me to support me. That support made me realise how different life could be having that support.”

Amanda has since set up a community interest company, Doula Plus, which trains other women to act as doulas.

A total of 11 women have already come through the training, and she is recruiting for the next round of training, which begins in May.

While Amanda also provides private doulaing, her community interest company offers support to women who may be in recovery from drug abuse, have suffered domestic violence, or may just be on their own and in need some extra support throughout the pregnancy.

Amanda said: “I was nominated by the drug liaison midwife, who I do a lot of work with. It’s about women supporting women.”

For more details visit: http://doula