15 June 2016

Antenatal classes available online

Expectant mother Gemma Trolove
Expectant mother Gemma Trolove

Katanning expectant mother Gemma Trolove jokes that she was hoping the stork would deliver her baby as, for a long time, she had no idea what to expect from giving birth.

But Gemma now has some idea of what to expect, after taking part in new antenatal classes for people across the Great Southern and Wheatbelt, which are run via telehealth.

Gemma plans to give birth in September in Perth – but to attend antenatal classes in Perth she would have had to spend possibly two days away.

This would have been both expensive and difficult, as she and her husband run a shearing business.

The new telehealth childbirth and early parenting classes are for people across the Great Southern and Wheatbelt, and remote and regional parents-to-be can join from home or from their local health service.

Each six-week course will cover topics such as the signs of labour, pain relief and medical intervention during labour, breastfeeding and early parenting.

WA County Health Service Maternal Health Project Officer Tarryn Sharp said that the new telehealth service would ensure that busy parents would not have to miss out on this important information because of distance.

Gemma said she and her husband were able to participate in the first class together, and that it brought up many topics they hadn’t considered, such as recognising the first signs of labour, and planning for various scenarios such as what she would do if she went into labour while her husband was away.

“Getting to Perth for classes would have been so expensive, and without them I never would have thought about making any plans, let alone a Plan B,” Gemma said.

“This course is so good, and the technology is amazing - I was wowed by it.”

Gemma said she also appreciated meeting the other pregnant women from across the regions, and hearing their stories and experiences.

The new telehealth antenatal classes are funded by the half billion dollar Southern Inland Health Initiative, which is made possible by the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program.

To book a place, expectant parents can contact Tarryn on 9842 7546 or sihi.childbirtheducation@health.wa.gov.au.