These virtual classes aim to build the knowledge and confidence of new mothers to support them and their family before, during and after birth, with content including preparing for birth, writing a birth plan, infant feeding and postnatal recovery and support. Additionally, there will be dedicated twice-weekly Q&A sessions where people can ask questions most relevant to them as well as having the opportunity to join a facilitated WhatsApp group with others expected to give birth around the same time.
Each session will be delivered by a maternity expert at UK Babies, the community interest company which has been offering maternity education alongside Ipswich Hospital since 2016. UK Babies has now been commissioned by the ICS to deliver a 12-month pilot maternity education project to all those under the care of maternity services at West Suffolk, Colchester and Ipswich hospitals.
UK Babies Director Melanie Lewis, said: “We have worked alongside Ipswich Hospital to provide antenatal education support for a number of years, and the new contract to increase the provision of our antenatal education to Suffolk and north east Essex, is hugely welcomed.”
UK Babies CEO, Jo Cresdee, said: “The online nature of these antenatal classes means that they are now widely accessible to a huge number of families, all from the comfort of their own home. We know this new digital format helps pregnant women and their partners watch and learn together and encourages both parents to be heavily involved in the whole experience.”
Teri Gavin Jones, clinical lead midwife for the ICS, said: “We want to support new parents to experience childbirth and beyond as a joyful and happy time.
“It is natural, of course, for new parents to be anxious and have concerns, which is why these classes are so important. The classes will offer NHS approved information which will enable parents to make decisions and become fully involved in their care. They will understand what to expect, how they can best prepare and the classes will give them the confidence to best deal with the early stages of new parenthood.
“As well as being able to access maternity expertise from UK Babies, new parents will also have the opportunity to talk with others who are set to give birth, creating an invaluable network of peer support that will help ensure everyone feels supported and no-one feels alone.”
For more information on UK Babies and the services they provide, including free antenatal education visit ukbabies.co.uk