In the world of social media, midwife Jenny Clarke is a superstar.
Known on Twitter as ‘JennytheM’, she is one of Blackpool Victoria Hospital’s most passionate proponents of natural forms of childbirth.
Jenny has become a Twitter sensation through the international ‘Skin to Skin’ campaign and has been nominated in the trust’s annual Celebrating Success Awards.
She says she started Tweeting as a midwife because people were not understanding the ethos of Skin to Skin, so she regularly updates followers of the befits of skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborn babies.
And because of her tweets, read both locally and as far away as Nigeria and Australia, she is often asked to speak at conferences and health events.
Jenny advocates that every newborn be placed flat on their mother’s chest.
She said: “The baby will crawl to the breast.
“The baby is a lock and the mother is the key – put them together and a something special happens. The contact unlocks the baby’s brain and starts its developmental processes.
“Research shows that if a baby is held for longer, it improves his or her development and IQ. I started thinking, there is something in this.
“If you see a baby that is born and you give the baby to its mother, then that child is calm. If a baby isn’t held, it’s a bit like a jigsaw that has a piece missing. With Skin to Skin that piece is there.”
This closeness results in physiological and mental health benefits that can’t be replaced by modern medicine.
Jenny added: “I love Twitter because it’s instant. I get students talking to me all the time about Skin to Skin. I even get messages from surgeons.
“It’s great that people are picking up on what I am saying.”
Jenny, who has a son Ralph, 20, and daughter Jane, 25, first started working as a nurse for the NHS 21 years ago.
She said: “I love my job because it’s all about the women. It’s family-centred care.
“I love working in Blackpool. Everyone has been amazing with me here.”
The Celebrating Success Awards ceremony will take place on November 14 at the Winter Gardens. Nominations are now closed.