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Charity highlights need for affordable childbirth education

Lack of access to maternal and child health services because of financial constraints is a pressing concern and needs addressing, according to the Women’s Resource Centre.

The charity also said that since the Covid-19 pandemic there have been no free or subsidised childbirth education classes in Bermuda.

Last week, the Government provided an update on the First 1,000 Days Integrated Care Pathway initiative, which is part of its effort to implement universal health coverage.

The WRC said that of the ten challenges identified in the report, access to maternal and child health services owing to financial constraints was of highest concern for the charity.

“Since the pandemic there have been no free or subsidised childbirth education classes in Bermuda,” a spokeswoman for the charity said in a statement.

“The Women’s Resource Centre believes that access to education and resources is essential for women to be able to make informed decisions regarding their health and the health of their children.

“We are particularly committed to providing essential opportunities for maternal, birthing and parenting education and work with our community partners to deliver equitable services to support women as they navigate pregnancy, birth and infant parenting.”

The charity noted that up to 45 per cent find some aspect of childbirth traumatic, one in seven mothers reports conditions such as postnatal depression and one in 25 women develops postnatal PTSD.

“Babies and toddlers are directly affected by trauma and are also affected if their mother is suffering the consequences of trauma,” the spokeswoman added.

“These statistics highlight the urgency of providing access to birth and parenting education, resources and therapeutic support.”

The spokeswoman added that through a partnership with the It Takes a Village Foundation, the charity offers quarterly community birthing classes to offer women information and resources.

It also provides opportunities for women to learn parenting strategies and find parenting support through its community education programme and its mothers support group.

Juanae Crockwell, executive director of the centre, said: “Childbirth and motherhood are two very impactful transitions in a woman’s life.

“Should a woman choose to embark on this journey, it is essential that she is equipped with the education and resources to enhance her birthing and parenting experience.”

“We want to emphasise the value of seeking additional support as women prepare to give birth. Evidence-based birth education should not be limited to the wealthy.

“It should be equally accessible to all women, and WRC and the It Takes a Village Foundation are committed to ensuring that women in lower-income thresholds have the same access to quality birth education.”

Fiona Dill, the director of the foundation, added: “Part of the original vision and mission of the charity was to provide equal access to evidence-based childbirth education to every woman in Bermuda, regardless of ability to pay.

“We are so delighted to partner with the WRC to provide these classes, which we believe will positively impact every aspect of the experience of birth and breastfeeding and thus long-term mental and physical wellbeing for mothers, their babies, their partners and their families.”

The next session of the WRC community birthing class, Preparing For Childbirth, will begin on April 18.

The First 1,000 Days pathway was prioritised by the Government in its 2022 Throne Speech.

Under the plan, infants are to be given the chance for a better start in life through the programme that will map the gaps, disparities and inequalities in child services.

• To learn more about the WRC’s birthing and parenting education programmes, visit www.wrcbermuda.com or call 295-3882

• The read the WRC’s full statement, see Related Media

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Published April 14, 2024 at 11:45 am (Updated April 15, 2024 at 8:09 am)

Charity highlights need for affordable childbirth education

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