The Covid-19 pandemic made it impossible for antenatal classes to go ahead for thousands of women across the world, leaving them to miss out on vital information to help prepare them and to navigate pregnancy confidentially.
The School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has launched a new online antenatal course to inform and empower pregnant women and their partners in a variety of ways during pregnancy, labour, birth and beyond.
The six-week antenatal classes which offer evidence-based information to parents was created by a team of leading maternal health researchers in partnership with Pavee Point, Cairde Ireland and Aims Ireland alongside with Nadia Arthurs, a hypnobirthing midwife.
The course is designed to improve the birth experience for women in Ireland and across the world, particularly those planning a pregnancy and for women who are expecting their first baby who are unable to access face-to-face antenatal classes due to the restrictions imposed globally from Covid-19.
The completely free online resource provides information on topics such as creating a birth plan, detecting early labour cues, strategies to help cope through labour to help lower stress levels and anxiety around giving birth as well as birthing your baby.
According to the lead researcher, Professor Cecily Begley, Chair of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity, the course will improve the birth experiences for many women.
“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 online 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,” she announced.
The ‘Journey to Birth’ program was funded through the Health Research Board and Knowledge Exchange Dissemination Scheme and is a significant example of a practical solution to sharing much-needed information at a time when it is badly needed.
Dr Mairead O’Driscoll, Interim Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, said: “I believe it will provide great support to expectant mums and their partners. The HRB knowledge exchange and dissemination awards are designed to ensure research delivers real benefits for people as well as health policy and practice. This project clearly illustrates how that can be done effectively.”
Registration for Journey to Birth classes are available on FutureLearn, and those who sign up will have access for eight weeks.
You can access the course here.