The five week Solihull course offers support and guidance on all aspects of pregnancy, labour and birth but with a focus on the emotional impact of pregnancy on young mums and dads-to-be.
Health Visitors and Midwives running the course emphasise the importance of creating a close bond with the baby in the womb, how the baby brain develops and also the roles of the medical professionals they may meet on their pregnancy journey.
In the final week of the course parents focus on the post-natal period, looking at the emotional and physical needs of a new born baby, safe sleeping, safe feeding and the huge emotional impact on the parents. The families are reminded of the support available from the maternity staff, Community Midwives, Midwife Support Workers and Health Visitors both during and after pregnancy.
Ricky Hurley, Positive Start Midwife at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “I have really enjoyed being part of the first Young Parents To Be Ante Natal Solihull course. It was a lovely group who bonded together and shared some of their experiences of being pregnant. They really supported each other.
“Our involvement as professionals with pregnant women and their families has significant impact on how parents feel about pregnancy, labour, birth and the first few months with their baby. These early experiences are crucial in building healthy long term relationships.”
Nine ladies attended the course, all between the ages of 16 and 19, and brought along partners, parents and friends for support.
Jackie Whitaker, 19, attended with her partner Jamie Burland. The couple are expecting their little girl to arrive on April 13. Jackie said: “We think pregnancy is harder for teenagers as we’re still going through hormonal changes ourselves and this can lead to mixed emotions. It’s been great to come and get support along with people our own age. I did a childcare course at college so I thought I was prepared but I definitely learnt a lot more here.”
Some of the young mums to be brought along other family members as well as their partners to help them through the course. Iona King brought along her partner Tommy and Mother Sally Hunter. Sally said: “I think it’s been good for them to come to a supportive environment with people of a similar age who probably had the same concerns and anxieties. It’s been great to see them work through these together. At first, Iona thought it was a mixed-age group and wasn’t going to attend but learning it was exclusive to young families encouraged her to come along.”
The course is supported by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust and forms part of a national approach to pregnancy and parenthood. The Solihull approach is based on best practice guidelines to improve emotional health and wellbeing through relationships from the antenatal period through childhood into adulthood.