There is great frustration amongst both maternity care providers and pregnant women, at the current lack of information and education available for women in the lead-up to birth. The women I see in my work as a GP Obstetrician in Queanbeyan rarely feel adequately prepared and generally fit into one of two categories: some are frustrated at the lack of information they have received, and often plead with me for resources or courses I would recommend that might prepare them for birth and the early days of parenting. Others are almost deliberately disengaged. They tell me proudly that they have done no courses, reading or preparation because their body is made for this, and they are just going to ‘go with the flow.’ I think often this is a resignation to the fact there is no easy way to obtain this information, so they prefer just to hope for the best. It is no wonder there are such high rates of anxiety and depression, relationship breakdown and very quick decisions not to breastfeed as soon as there is any difficulty.
While our mission as a registered charity is to meet the needs of the vulnerable and disadvantaged in our community, we also feel passionate about providing support to all pregnant women, where the system is letting them down. In order to be able to do this, we have developed a comprehensive series of birth and parenting classes that will run over 6 weeks, that is open to anyone, with eligible women being able to attend for free, and all others at a cost, which will then raise money to go towards the future work of First Steps Pregnancy Support. This allows us to begin working out our vision to support pregnant women in need, while also establishing an opportunity for income that will enable us to do more in the community as a result.
We have a multidisciplinary team working on a 6 part series of birthing classes which we are going to run for the first time in November/December of 2022. We have a wide range of expertise with doctors, midwives, lactation consultants, maternal and child health nurses as well as a physiotherapist, teacher, lawyer and a counsellor all involved in running the sessions! We will cover a broad range of topics that will be relevant for most first-time parents with our goal being to see women equipped and empowered so they can approach birth and parenting feeling capable and confident.
Find out more about the classes here.