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16th April 2020
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University maternity expert hosting free online antenatal classes

Mums-to-be whose antenatal classes have had to be cancelled because of the coronavirus are now taking advantage of free online advice from a Swansea University expert.

Dr Alys Einion-Waller, Associate Professor of Midwifery and Women’s Health, says her first three-week course of classes has already proved very popular – 12 couples signed up for the first session but now that figure has risen to 33 pairs of expectant parents.

The classes in Centred Birth hypnobirthing, a way of using deep relaxation and self-hypnosis in labour and birth, are normally delivered at the University’s Health and Wellbeing Academy. They teach techniques which help women and their partners relax and cope with the physical effort of labour and birth.

However, while the NHS is focusing on essential services and because of the social distancing guidance the usual antenatal classes have had to be cancelled.

Dr Einion-Waller said:

“Usually online hypnobirthing classes cost quite a lot but by offering these online for free, we are helping contribute to educating and empowering pregnant people and their partners.”

She is using Zoom to create a live online classroom with the next set of classes set to begin later this month.

“Antenatal education helps people to feel in control and to make informed decisions during labour and birth. Hypnobirthing teaches deep relaxation and a positive mindset, to build confidence and keep calm, reducing fear and anxiety so this is the ideal time to offer such classes,” she said.

“Some of those taking part said they were experiencing a heightened sense of anxiety during the pandemic and were grateful to learn practical techniques to manage that.

“Another said even one session had calmed them down and helped ease their anxiety.“

Dr Einion-Waller is delighted with the response she has received so far – within hours of launching her Facebook page she had her first group of parents signed up to take part – and she is now looking forward to building on this initial success.

The course can be accessed through @CentredBirth on Facebook