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ESOL for Pregnancy

Contact details and a summary of what our projects are delivering during the COVID-19 pandemic can be found at: https://www.betterstartbradford.org.uk/news/stillheretohelp/

Language courses for pregnant women with English needs, to help them engage with their midwife and be more in control of their pregnancy and labour

ESOL for Pregnancy aims to help pregnant women develop their English language skills. It engages about 90 women each year through carefully-developed five-week courses. Delivered by an experienced ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) tutor at Shipley College working alongside a midwife, the courses help women talk to their midwife and other health professionals and take control of their pregnancy and labour. They aim to help pregnant women understand the importance of a healthy pregnancy to their baby’s development and wellbeing.

Research indicates that nearly a third (29%) of women who have babies in the Better Start Bradford area cannot speak or read English[1]. This may have a knock-on effect on their ability to engage with midwifery and other important health services.

Who’s it for? Pregnant women living in the Better Start Bradford area who might otherwise need an interpreter for antenatal appointments or delivery of their baby. Check if you’re in our area here.

Where is it delivered? In community venues across the Better Start Bradford area.

Who delivers it? An experienced ESOL tutor from Shipley College alongside a midwife

How do families book on? To sign up or refer someone, contact Shipley College on 01274 327327 or [email protected]

More info:

The courses will cover: having a healthy pregnancy, check-ups with the midwife, signs of labour, birth plans, and hospital visits.

Women will learn about communicating with their midwife, including:

  • Asking questions
  • Giving personal details
  • Understanding pregnancy vocabulary
  • Saying what they want or don’t want
  • Following guidance and explanations
  • Talking about feelings and concerns.

Women will be encouraged to use Mother’s Tongue, an app developed by Shipley College tutors to support this course.

Diana Bird, head of sector for Essential Skills at Shipley College, says: “There is a real need for ESOL for Pregnancy in this part of Bradford, where many mums-to-be have English language difficulties. This can make it hard for them to talk to midwives and other health professionals about their concerns, hopes and wishes for themselves and their baby during their pregnancy and birth. This course is all about empowering women to be able to ask questions, get the information they need, and feel confident and comfortable about becoming a mum.”

[1] Dickerson et al. BMC Public Health (2016) 16:711