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The Southern Trust have spearheaded an initiative where mums-to-be and their birthing partners have held antenatal and parenting education classes via Zoom.

Almost 5000 people have spent the past 12 months learning about birth education via the video link.

One of the 112 antenatal and parenting classes which the Southern Trust hosted via Zoom for 4,598 participants over the past 12 months.
One of the 112 antenatal and parenting classes which the Southern Trust hosted via Zoom for 4,598 participants over the past 12 months.

When the pandemic first stuck last year, the maternity team in the Southern Trust had to consider alternative ways of how they could run their antenatal and parenting education classes.

They were delighted to be the first Trust to set up and deliver these much needed classes via Zoom.

“One of the main ways we prepare parents-to-be for their new baby is through parenting and antenatal classes,” says Gemma Winter, Antenatal Education Coordinator Midwife.

“Normally these are conducted face to face, where we’re able to chat with people and demonstrate techniques in person however when restrictions were introduced and social distancing rules came into force, we had to look again at how we shared this vital information with expectant parents, and online video conferencing tools gave us the perfect solution.”

In the past 12 months, the team have organised more than 100 antenatal and parenting classes to thousands of people, covering topics such as getting ready for baby, breastfeeding workshop, labour, delivery and birth.

Gemma adds “The feedback we have received has been amazing.. Many first time parents said that it really helped them with the basics and found them helpful in times of uncertainty. It is really important that expectant parents get this social connection

“Our classes were still held ‘locally’ which enabled new mums and dads to stay connected with others during lockdown and build a community support network of other parents having a baby at the same time.”

“Over 600 people attended our online classes in October last year alone.”

Wendy Clarke, Head of Midwifery, said “This initiative is a great example of how a digital solution can help to aid and support our mums-to-be and their families during these difficult times.”

If you would like to know more about what classes are available can you please check out the maternity webpage at SOUTHERNTRUST.HSCNI.NET or email eitp.midwives@southerntrust.hscni.net   

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