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Getting Ready for Baby a hit with first time parents

9th March 2018

Getting ready for babyAs Mother’s Day 2018 approaches many expectant parents will be looking forward to spending this day next year with a new addition to their family. While they will be happy and excited, it is also perfectly normal to feel a bit nervous on the upcoming pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood. This is where the Getting Ready for Baby Programme can help parents right across Northern Ireland.

The Getting Ready for Baby programme helps mothers to prepare physically and emotionally for becoming a parent. The programme incorporates antenatal care and preparation for parenthood into the one session and focuses on building a relationship with the baby.

Of the 970 first time mothers who accepted a place on the programme in 2016-17, 89% completed the course, and 99% of which stated they enjoyed the group antenatal classes, the same percentage agreed that the programme helped them prepare for interacting with their baby. Almost 90% said they felt comfortable soothing their baby when distressed as a result of techniques developed in the programme.

Joan Wells, Co-Director of Maternity Services at Belfast Trust, said “Getting Ready for Baby is part of the Northern Ireland Government Early Intervention Transformation Programme which aims to improve outcomes for children by supporting parents to understand, develop and fulfil the critical role they play in their children’s early years.”

“Getting Ready for Baby is about transforming antenatal care and parent education. Based on the Solihull Approach, all low risk first time parents, in the greater Belfast area, are being offered six group-based combined antenatal clinical care and education sessions led by community midwives. These sessions start much earlier than traditional antenatal programmes and will provide more continuity of care.”

“Prospective parents will be considered as partners in maternity care and given all relevant information, in appropriate formats, to make informed choices about what is best for them and their baby.”

“Antenatal education will be enhanced and active involvement of prospective parents will be encouraged; this education will primarily be women-centred and developed to ensure all women and their partners receive the advice they require to prepare them for parenthood and birth.”

Siobhan Slavin, the Public Health Agency’s (PHA) Change Manager for EITP said: “Becoming a mother is indeed a special time for any woman. This Mother’s Day, as the bond between mother and baby is celebrated all over the world, we want to highlight how the Getting Ready for Baby Programme, is working to equip mothers and parents with the skills to give their child the best start in life.

“So far more than 2,300 mothers in Northern Ireland have benefitted from the Getting Ready for Baby programme, which weaves together information for mothers and families on pregnancy, birth and establishing a relationship with their baby.”

The Public Health Agency leads the EITP Work Stream One ‘Getting Ready for Baby’ and ‘Getting Ready for Toddler’ throughout Northern Ireland and aims to improve outcomes for children and young people through embedding early intervention approaches.

The Early Intervention Transformation Programme is a Northern Ireland Executive/Atlantic Philanthropies Delivering Social Change Signature Programme, jointly funded by the Public Health Agency, Delivering Social Change Fund, DoH, DE, DoJ, DfC, DfE and The Atlantic Philanthropies.