‘Bump, Baby and Beyond’ – Creative Ways of Designing Antenatal Preparation Sessions in Collaboration with Women

Leader(s)Jilly Ireland and Ruth Evans
LocationSt Mary’s Maternity Hospital, Poole
DurationNovember 2014 – September 2016
Received for PublicationDecember 2016

Attendance at antenatal classes was low in the area of Poole Borough with the highest number of child protection plans. The project team aimed to set up a weekly antenatal information and support group in a Children’s Centre on the Turlin Moor Estate in Poole, Dorset. It was hoped that the following outcomes would be achieved:

  • Increase potential for secure attachments between mother and infant
  • Increase confidence; encourage peer support
  • 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 6 weeks but the group said that they’d like to decide over lunch what they’d do that week and possibly the next. It depended upon who attended. The midwife could for example 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, baby hand prints etc.

Sometimes mothers-to-be simply wanted to talk about mental health, issues from childhood, 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. It may be that their emotional wellbeing and mental health were improved (or ill health prevented).

This project was supported by the Foundation of Nursing Studies Patients First Programme in partnership with the Burdett Trust for Nursing.

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