GloBelly connects pregnant women from different countries

October 9, 2017

Connecting global mothers

This summer, 20 women from five different countries, Nigeria, Uganda, Finland, India, and Spain were connected to each other through M4ID-initiated private messaging service, Globelly. The women shared the experience of being pregnant at the time of taking part, otherwise they came from different backgrounds. Some were first time mothers, some already had children. Some felt they wanted to take part because they found it hard to find the information they need around pregnancy elsewhere in their lives, some were already actively following numerous pregnancy sites, forums, and blogs.

Pregnancy can be lonely

GloBelly was born out of a simple idea, based on M4ID’s years of experience of working with maternal health: pregnancy can be an isolating time for many women all over the world. Many health services provide women with support in their physical needs, but pregnancy is often also a time of emotional upheaval. Talking to another woman going through similar events can be reassuring.

For M4ID, GloBelly represents a new way of working. Where most of our projects start from an extensive research phase to fully understand the complex contexts of the issues we work with, GloBelly is a quick pilot of a simple service to connect women. We have now collected the results from the pilot phase and will analyse them to develop the service further. The results will also serve to inform our other projects in maternal and newborn health.

What was the experience like?

Most women reported that talking about the physical and emotional experience of being pregnant was the topic that they felt gave them most support. In our interviews, women also talked about sharing and comparing cultural differences in family life, health care services and their expectations towards childcare.

We were curious to see whether talking over the internet would be enough to create a meaningful connection between two strangers. Most participants did feel that taking part in GloBelly enhanced their experience with pregnancy in some way. With a stranger, you can sometimes talk about things you wouldn’t talk with the people around you. Even just sharing the different ways things are done in different countries and cultures helped the participants to think in new ways.

GloBelly is M4ID’s social mission project, funded from our social mission fund. Read more about the project here. The Finnish news broadcaster YLE also wrote an article on a woman’s experience of taking part in GloBelly, which you can find here (in Finnish).