A new online antenatal course aimed at pregnant women worldwide has been launched by the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin (TCD).
Most face-to-face antenatal classes have been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this new course, Journey to Birth, is to prepare women and their partners for labour and birth.
It covers a range of topics including creating your own birth plan, how to detect early labour, and coping strategies to help when you are in labour.
"We know from research across the world that women want more information on how to birth their babies the way they want. Many women are unable to access suitable courses and with the COVID-19 pandemic, existing face-to-face classes have been cancelled.
"This on-line course provides information on labour and birth, drawn from research evidence, and designed to improve the birth experiences of thousands of women throughout Ireland, and the rest of the world," commented Prof Cecily Begley, chair of nursing and midwifery at TCD.
The course was developed by maternal health researchers, in partnership with midwives and women's organisations. One of these was the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services (AIMS) Ireland
According to its chairperson, Krysia Lynch, pregnant people need to be supported in a variety of ways during pregnancy and leading up to labour and birth.
"Obviously people need clinical and medical support, but pregnancy and birth are not simply medical events. They are transformative life events in which pregnant people are active participants in their care and their experiences.
"In order to achieve a partnership with their healthcare providers and also to demystify the process for themselves, pregnant people benefit from access to high-quality balanced information. This course offers exactly that," she commented.
She described it as "well researched, evidence-based information" that seeks to inform and empower.
"Unlike information provided by medical personal seeking to secure informed compliance, or by private providers seeking to sell a product, this does exactly what it says on the tin. It enables a pregnant person to navigate their journey to birth with confidence," Ms Lynch noted.
Journey to Birth runs for six weeks and registration is free. You can access the course here.
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