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NURTURING Family Foundations for Future Generations

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UK Prenatal Education Association (UKPEA) is a Scottish Charitable Organisation (Registered Charity No: SC046162) and umbrella organisation to a network of Peer to Peer Support Groups who provide pre-conception, prenatal and perinatal early attachment and bonding to baby in womb, as well as mental health support for families and infants using our NURTURE Parenting Programme. UKPEA also offer Health Providers evidenced based training on Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology, explaining why the nine months in the womb sets the foundations of the baby’s neurodevelopment through to Age 2, encompassing the 1001 critical days.

UKPEA was founded in 2015 by Cheryl Wilkinson (BSc, DipHE) to realise a vision of a society of emotionally capable children with strong attachment and bonding providing strong “Family Foundations for Future Generations.”

There is an overwhelming need for UKPEA Peer to Peer Support Groups across all areas of the UK. They provide a primary component in a preventative approach to supporting / educating vulnerable and stressed families creating better perinatal mental health outcomes from conception through to adulthood. This has been evidenced by both Scottish and UK Government, identifying that there is a “serious gap” in education regarding Prenatal Education (or Primal Period).

UKPEA Survey (2015) confirmed that of 1,600 women nationwide, 60% did not recognise themselves as a “Mother” until birth or afterwards. Since then a survey of 1,515 new parents by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) also found that as many as 30% new mothers experienced difficulty bonding with their baby, as well as over 10% admitting that they were too embarrassed to speak to healthcare professionals about baby bonding issues. This misses a whole window of opportunity throughout the 9 months of pregnancy to initiate early attachment and bonding with growing baby in the womb and establishing an optimal environment for the baby’s development, laying the foundations of his/her mental health.


  1. UKPEA Community Education (UKPEACE)
    • To provide help, support and education directly to this in local communities who are identified of being in need via self-referral or referral pathway.
    • Network of groups offer specialised support, care and education based on the needs of the communities they support, promoting and providing early attachment and bonding, positive parenting through NURTURE, trauma healing where necessary and good mental wellbeing.


In 2014, “Costs of Perinatal Mental Health Problems” was published by The London School of Economics and Political Science, which confirmed that the known costs of perinatal mental health problems per year’s births in the UK, totals £8.1 billion.


  • 72% of these costs relate directly to the adverse impacts on the child.
  • 20% of women are affected by mental health problems during or within one year of giving birth.
  • 20% of these costs directly impact on Health and Social Care at a cost of £1.2 million each year, with a further £0.5 million to the Public Sector.
  • For an investment of £340 thousand to improve services per year, a SAVING of £1.36 million would be made (5 times the cost to improve).


Vast research has proven the need for Peer to Peer support groups within the UK.

The stark realities are:


  • 122,000 babies under the age of one are living with a parent who has a mental health problem.
  • Infant regulatory disturbances, such an excessive crying, feeding or sleeping difficulties, and bonding/attachment problems are the main reason for referrals to child health clinics.
  • Around 20% of children aged 18 months have regulatory problems.
  • About 15% of children have Diagnosed Attachment behaviour, which is associated with high levels of entry into care, poor relationship skills through life, high levels of disruptive behaviour in pre-school and school, school exclusion, poor physical and mental health, aggression, and entry into criminal justice system.
  • Approximately 49.9% of infant and toddlers aged 12 – 40 months show continuity of emotional and behavioural problems one year after initial presentation.


  • Mental Health problems affect up to 20% of women during the perinatal period.
  • 11% of pregnant women experience some form of depression, with 3% suffering from a major depressive disorder.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) occurs in about 8% of pregnant women.
  • Suicide is a leading cause of death for women during pregnancy and in the year after giving birth.
  • Anxiety and panic disorders affect between 2 and 4% of pregnant women.


At present there is no organisation like UKPEA within the UK placed to provide support, information nor training regarding Prenatal Education and Primary Intervention training, encompassing Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology, which can have a significant impact on our future generations.


UKPEA activities will be available to parents / families affected by social deprivation within the most deprived areas of Scotland identified by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation via Community Groups and across the UK.


  • Access at community level to trained volunteers with lived experiences for support, advice and information which is evidence based.
  • Individual parent / family befriending by trained volunteers where appropriate, by either self-referral or from established referral pathway.
  • Participation in free NURTURE Parenting Programme to include from pre-conception. Parents / families will learn how to acknowledge growth of foetus to baby with early attachment /bonding and understand the influence of nutrition, physical and emotional health has on the development of the emotional and psychological wellbeing of their child, both in the womb and after birth.
  • Participation in free NURTURE Postnatal Programme highlighting the importance of continued attachment / bonding practices to ensure baby grows within a nurturing relationship. Parents / families will be empowered through practical advice and practice, gaining confidence in recognising and responding to their baby’s signals and cues.
  • Parents / families that are already affected by trauma or mental health issues will be given support and information as to where best access help. Where appropriate individuals may be referred via established local referral pathway for free Integral Eye Movement Therapy (IEMT), NLP or EFT by a certified Practitioner.


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