A midwife and health visitor developed an innovative approach to antenatal lessons that has resulted in a report, published by the Foundation of Nursing Studies.
The report Bump, Baby and Beyond – Creative Ways of Designing Antenatal Preparation Sessions in Collaboration with Women is the result of work in a deprived area of Poole.
In the area, attendance at antenatal classes was low and it had the highest number of child protection plans.
The small team aimed to set up a weekly antenatal information and support group in a Children’s Centre on the Turlin Moor Estate in Poole.
They hoped to increase potential for secure attachments between mother and infant, increase confidence, encourage peer support and inform and empower mothers.
The group evolved into a mixed antenatal and postnatal group with the added benefit of women leading some activities and supporting one another within the group.
The taster activities programme was followed for six weeks. The sessions were flexible so that the group could decide what they wanted or needed.
For example, the midwife could offer to take pregnant women to another room for hypnobirthing or belly casting, while the staff at the children’s centre were able to offer baby massage or baby hand prints.
Sometimes mothers-to-be simply wanted to talk about mental health, issues from childhood or relationships - these topics emerged over lunch, which was always provided.
Evaluation showed that mothers found the exercises used to prepare for labour and early motherhood useful and the tools for discussing labour helpful.
The project was supported by the Foundation of Nursing Studies Patients First Programme in partnership with the Burdett Trust for Nursing.
The report, which includes a link to a video, is available on the FoNS website.