NCT, the UK’s largest charity for parents, has made the decision to move all antenatal classes online following the coronavirus outbreak.
Parents who are expecting can now log onto a virtual course rather than the usual face-to-face classes.
The decision was made after Boris Johnson said that pregnant women should reduce social contact during the pandemic.
The NCT has already run over 50 virtual courses this week.
Chief Executive of NCT, Angela McConville, discussed the charity’s decision: “We want to support mums and dads-to-be at a very stressful time while taking on board Government guidance about social distancing.
“So this week we've launched our antenatal classes in a virtual format and will be providing online courses for the foreseeable future. Expectant parents need social connection now more than ever.”
The new courses are built to be interactive and engaging while still providing the social aspect that is sought after by many parents.
Course leaders will continue to offer parents-to-be evidence-based information about pregnancy, birth and the newborn stage of being new parents.
Crucially, the classes are still local, meaning that attendees get the chance to build a “community support network of other parents having a baby at the same time”, McConville explains.
Annabel, an expectant mum from Chorlton, Manchester, shares her gratitude for the new virtual antenatal classes: “The content of our course was great and we had a really good chance to chat and interact with
other mums and dads-to-be.
“I'm very grateful to have been able to do the course as I was worried it would be cancelled.”
As a result of Boris Johnson’s advice for pregnant women, the NCT has seen a rise in worried expectant parents enquiring about what this will mean for them.
Queries have included the effects the virus has on pregnant women as well as newborns and toddlers.
It has led the charity to set up a dedicated Covid-19 hotline to manage the calls.
It urges parents and parents-to-be to use the information available by calling or by using the NCT website - which is being continually updated.
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Despite the worry, the Royal College of Midwives urged pregnant women to continue to attend antenatal appointments as normal claiming they are “essential to ensure the wellbeing of pregnant women and their babies”.
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