Catherine Helps, community Aboriginal midwife, Aimee Rolfe of Goonellabah and Robyn Robinson, Aboriginal education officer just after the cast was removed.
Catherine Helps, community Aboriginal midwife, Aimee Rolfe of Goonellabah and Robyn Robinson, Aboriginal education officer just after the cast was removed. Jacklyn Wagner

Casting a good spell

PREGNANCY lasts just nine months, but Goonellabah mum-to-be Aimee Rolfe will have a permanent keepsake of this precious time in her life.

The 23-year-old's 37-week swollen torso was yesterday immortalised in a three-dimensional plaster cast.

"I can sort of feel it pull my back hairs. You feel like you're in a big corset," she said with a grin, as strips of plaster, normally used to set broken bones, were smoothed around her body.

It's Aimee's fourth child, but only her first belly plaster cast.

"The other kids will be jealous," she laughed.

On plastering duties was Aboriginal and Maternal Infant Health Strategy midwife Catherine Helps and Aboriginal Health Education Officer Robyn Robinson.

Belly casting is one of the more fun strategies used in the NSW Health- sponsored program to encourage healthier pregnancies in Aboriginal women.

It helps engage the mums with local maternity health services with research showing that the sooner this happens during a pregnancy the healthier mum and baby will be.

"So much of pregnancy is so negative but this gives it a real celebratory feel," Ms Helps said.

Aimee plans to decorate the cast.



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