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And midwife makes three

Sherie Holder-Olutayo

And midwife makes three

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ANDREA DENNIS has made it her business to know everything about childbirth. In fact, it has become what she does every day as a registered midwife, breastfeeding consultant and an expert on women’s reproductive health and well-being.
Midwives have always been popular in Barbados in terms of delivering babies. Now, Andrea Dennis, a London-trained midwife has brought her experience to Barbados to help women before, during and after childbirth.
“[In times gone by] our parents and grandparents were around and we had that extended family connection, so issues like breastfeeding weren’t a problem for new mothers,” Dennis said. “Now, many women don’t have that family support, so that’s where I can be of assistance.”
Dennis’ foray into women’s health issues started from her work in London.
“I trained at Kings College University in London as a midwife, and I worked as a community midwife in Southeast London,” she said. “My work in various UK communities, assisting women with all aspects of midwifery gave me fantastic experience in antenatal care and education, home and hospital birth and postnatal care. So I sought out a similar working environment for myself here.”
Andrea’s experience proved to be beneficial since she now works as a freelance midwife and breastfeeding consultant at the Family Birthing Centre.
“I conduct classes, provide private Lamaze classes for couples, visit women at home with breastfeeding challenges, and support them in giving their babies the best first nutrition. [This] has bolstered local confidence and commitment to giving babies the best possible nutritional start,” she said. “Now, making mothers, of all socio-economic levels aware that these resources are available for them is one of my professional missions.”
Though Andrea was born and raised in London, her parents were Barbadian. Four years ago she made the decision to relocate here and has carved out a niche for herself in women’s health and wellness.
“I think women do need a lot of help with reproductive health here because of there are lots of problems with fibroids, endometriosis and irregular periods,” Dennis says. “These problems have become so commonplace that people have become complacent in tackling them. But there are a lot of  women here who have reproductive imbalances that affect their fertility.”
Part of Dennis’ mission for the women that she counsels is to help them understand how vital a role nutrition plays in their dietary habits and in the development of fibroids.
“Our parents and grandparents used bush teas and had less toxins in their bodies,” she said. “Meat, eggs and so many of the foods are laced with estrogen-based products that contribute to the growth of fibroids and give young children breasts very early. People don’t really read labels to see the ingredient make-up of what they’re eating.”
Dennis, who has a personal love for ground provisions, advocates their use for many of her clients.
“As the years are going by we are moving so far away from nature and ourselves, and diseases like diabetes and cancer are growing,” Dennis says. “In just four short years, Barbados and I have discovered a mutually beneficial relationship that has given purpose and meaning to my life in the tropics.  I know I am here to empower women through education and awareness to make the choices that will make our great nation a healthier one.”