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Mums connect through virtual maternity classes

Expectant mums whose maternity classes had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic will now have the chance to perform the lessons with an experienced midwife, virtually.

In a first for Ramsay Health Care, Westmead Private Hospital has delivered its antenatal class virtually - with an expert midwife at the education centre in Sydney beaming directly into the homes of four expectant mums and their partners.

Antenatal education facilitator Michelle Penn said, after 10 years as a midwife and educator, she was excited to deliver her first antenatal class via Ramsay Health Care’s virtual care platform.

“I’m really happy we are still able to offer this service to our expectant mums because most of these women are in the final stages of their pregnancy,” Ms Penn said.

“It’s a time when they want to learn as much as they can about their upcoming birth and what it’s like to have a newborn baby, and it’s great that they will be able to ask me all those questions directly rather than relying on Dr Google.”

National Maternity Service Line Director Deanna Ward said Ramsay Health Care had transformed its antenatal program in just seven days in direct response to the social distancing measures required for the coronavirus pandemic.

“We identified that we could no longer have the group antenatal classes the way we traditionally would but we didn’t want our mums to miss out,” Ms Ward said.

“Pregnancy can be a really anxious time and that anxiety can increase when there’s a lack of knowledge. We want to make sure we equip our mums with the information they need so they can move forward in their pregnancy with excitement and confidence.”

A dedicated multi-professional team, including experts from technology, legal, innovation and medicine, helped deliver the project in record time, ensuring patient privacy and confidentiality were maintained.

Westmead Private Hospital was the first to trial the virtual antenatal classes and the sessions will be rolled out at Ramsay hospitals around the country.

Ms Ward said it was an exciting milestone for Ramsay Health Care, as the technology could also be used to provide other consultations, such as the Know My Midwife program, mental health consultations and physiotherapy.

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