By Andy Hirst

A Huddersfield-based website which supports the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of women through pregnancy, trauma and loss has received a grant towards its pioneering work.

FLY Mama was set up by Huddersfield mum Kelly Thistlethwaite who is a specialist trauma yoga and breathwork instructor coach along with Michelle Norton-Hughes, who is a women’s pelvic health physiotherapist.

It has received a Fast Start Award grant from Innovate UK which is part of the Government’s UK research and innovation organisation that supports pioneering work, funding and investing in new businesses.

The grant money will help FLY Mama to help support women who return to work after birth, especially if they have gone through a traumatic experience.

FLY Mama co-founder Kelly Thistlethwaite said: “One in three women experience birth trauma, one in four pregnancies will end in loss and every year around 2,500 babies are stillborn. Too often following trauma and loss, the support provided consists of well wishes and a leaflet.

“Women deserve and need more support and we want to provide this for them. Not only will companies feel supported in the care that they can help provide for their staff, but employee retention, wellbeing and quality of life will be enhanced.

“The employee benefit programme will also support individuals who experience loss during any stage of their pregnancy while at work, while at home on bereavement leave, while preparing to and once they return to work as well as supporting them should they conceive again following loss.”

FLY Mama’s corporate wellbeing programmes will ensure employees are able to return from maternity leave feeling confident, strong and healthy. It will give them the chance to adjust to their new family, process trauma and feel supported so they are mentally and physically ready for work when they return.

Fewer than one in five of all new mothers return to full-time work in the first three years after maternity leave and 17% of women leave employment completely in the five years following childbirth, compared to just 4% of men.

The FLY Mama employee benefit programme will support employees mentally, physically and emotionally while at work during their pregnancy, at home on maternity leave, while they prepare to return to work and supporting them once back at work.

Co-founder Michelle Norton-Hughes added: “Public funding is necessary to make professional support more accessible regardless of income, geographical location and severity of injury and symptoms.

“Public and private women’s health physiotherapy provisions are not accessible to all with services being too expensive, not local or waiting lists too long.

“We are so grateful for the Innovate UK grant funding as this will allow us to launch and accelerate our corporate and charity business models, getting our support packages in the hands of the millions of women across the UK who need it.”

For more on FLY Mama go to its website

* Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting. Copyright Andy Hirst.