A new online antenatal course launched by Irish experts will help women across the world confidentially navigate a pregnancy during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Researchers from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at Trinity College Dublin developed the course to allow women to have access to evidence-based and trustworthy information.
The free six-week course, called Journey to Birth, prepares women for labour and birth at a time when most face-to-face antenatal courses are cancelled because of public health restrictions.
It was developed by maternal health researchers, in partnership with midwives and women's organisations, to support women and their partners on their journey to the birth of their child.
The content covers a range of issues, including creating a birth-plan, how to detect early labour and coping strategies during labour and birth to reduce stress and anxiety.
Chair of Trinity's School of Nursing and Midwifery, Prof Cecily Begley, said they already knew from research across the world that women want more information on how to birth their babies the way they want.
However, many women are unable to access suitable courses because of the restrictions resulting from Covid-19.
“This on-line course provides information on labour and birth, drawn from research evidence and designed to improve the birth experiences of thousands of women throughout Ireland, and the rest of the world,” said Prof Begley.
AIMS Ireland, a voluntary organisation established in 2007 by women dissatisfied with Irish maternity services, is one of several partners that developed the resources with the Trinity researchers.
Chair of AIMS Ireland, Krysia Lynch, said pregnancy and birth are not simply medical events, they are transformative life events.
"Unlike information provided by medical personal seeking to secure informed compliance, or by private providers seeking to sell a product, this does exactly what it says on the tin; enables a pregnant person to navigate their journey to birth with confidence," said Ms Lynch.
Research for the Journey to Birth course was funded by the Health Research Board's Knowledge Exchange Dissemination Scheme.
HRB interim chief executive, Dr Mairead O'Driscoll, said the course is a great example of a practical solution to sharing evidence quickly at a time when it is badly needed.
The course can be accessed here