Olivia Agar – Midwife
WHAT drives a young woman to become a midwife? To champion breast feeding and work tirelessly to support women in the choices they make for the most important events in their lives?
Mother-of-three Olivia Agar (36) explains: “I became a midwife in my mid-twenties, as I have always been fascinated by pregnancy and the science that creates life from a group of cells. To be part of such a special event is an enormous privilege and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“I have worked for Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust for 6 years, as it is
an amazing forward thinking trust with committed staff and supportive management. I am so proud of our midwife-led units – Serenity at City Hospital and Halcyon in Smethwick. It is a real joy to share the delight of women seeing the facilities for the first time, as they are overwhelmed by how different they are from traditional NHS hospital environments.”
Olivia is part of an Infant Feeding Team working towards informing women’s choice to breastfeed their babies. They have already achieved stage two of the UNICEF Baby Friendly Awards, which meant they were assessed by UNICEF to ensure their knowledge and skills are of a high quality standard and their records are up to date. The Trust is aiming for stage three accreditation later this year.
Olivia continued: “There are numerous benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby, including less chance of the baby developing diabetes, asthma, eczema, chest infections, ear infections, gastroenteritis and for the mom it reduces the chance of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. Evidence shows that one of the biggest reasons women cease to breastfeed is feeling unsupported, so we are determined to demonstrate our commitment to women to provide the help they need, and make a real difference to new moms in this area.”
A keen cook, Olivia loves to spend time in her kitchen creating delicious dishes for her family and friends, although she jokes that her cakes need work. She is also planning to run the Birmingham Half Marathon, as her 70 year old father has been running them for years. She explained: “My mum and dad are my heroes, and after watching my dad run marathons for years, I’ve decided this year to do it myself.”
A glimpse into Olivia’s bulging diary reveals that this year she is applying to become a Supervisor of Midwives, a RCM union rep and is undertaking an instructor course for Advanced Newborn Life Support. All this in addition to her ‘day’ job of helping deliver some of the many babies born at the Trust every week.