When our regular antenatal provision was put on hold due to COVID-19, we decided to develop virtual classes for pregnant women across the district to ensure they continued to receive professional advice and support during lockdown.
Our resident NHS Leadership Fellows, Dr Michelle Everitt and Dr Elizabeth Pal, along with our specialist midwife, Alison Brown, took up the challenge to develop a series of antenatal classes that could be delivered live via Zoom. The first pilot session was successfully delivered on 30 April 2020 and the classes officially launched on 23 June 2020.
Led by midwives and experienced practitioners, the classes cover topics such as staying physically and mentally well during pregnancy, coping with labour and birth, safe sleep and bonding, as well as providing up-to-date information from the maternity service in Bradford and what differences to expect during COVID-19. The classes are delivered via Zoom and last for around an hour each. They are a friendly and safe space to discuss aspects of pregnancy, birth and beyond, with lots of opportunities to ask questions. Find out more here.
Dr Michelle Everitt, said: “We recognised that there was a need to remain in touch with pregnant women offering antenatal support and education during the lockdown and so we quickly developed the free virtual programme working alongside our partners and local maternity services.
“We realised that expecting pregnant women to commit to attending a full course of sessions was unrealistic for many parents during COVID-19, so we decided to develop four live sessions to be repeated frequently. This meant that participants could access them when convenient, with no obligation to attend all four in a row, making this different to pre-existing antenatal offers.”
Gill Thornton, Head of Programme, Better Start Bradford said: “While COVID-19 has put life on hold as we know it, expectants parents were unable to put a hold on their pregnancy and we saw a need to provide virtual antenatal support. Our Better Start Bradford staff and partners have done a wonderful job in quickly developing an effective online flexible programme, not just for Better Start Bradford families, but for all expectant parents across Bradford.”
We’ve have had some great feedback from the parents including: “Really excited about next week’s feeding topic”;
“I would just like to say how very, very helpful and informative the session is”.
“Even my partner was impressed”.