Funding Success Stories (Westminster): West London Birthing Classes

Innovation Fund Feedback from our friend Elizabeth at West London Doulas Charity

The West London Doulas Charity (WLDC) was awarded the Innovation Fund to run seven weekly antenatal classes for pregnant women in West London.

The classes covered key topics which included:

  • How to have a straightforward pregnancy.
  • Labour, birth and pain relief.
  • Nutrition during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding.
  • Breastfeeding, preparation and benefits to mother and baby.
  • First aid and baby illnesses. 
  • Well-being and feeling emotionally and mentally ready. 
  • Creating a birthing plan including the fourth trimester, coming home with baby. 

Elizabeth said that all the sessions included questions and answers section, which was informative, especially now during the pandemic.  Each speaker that delivered a workshop in their area of expertise had been keeping up to date with the latest information about Covid for their particular subject, so this was included in every session. Each session ended with breathing, relaxation and yoga.

Some of the professional speakers who delivered the sessions included the Royal College of midwives, registered nutritional and psychotherapists and breastfeeding counsellors trained by La Leche League. In addition, we have a medically trained postgraduate Physician’s Associate and registered Yoga therapist.

Elizabeth stated “sadly, statistics show that now there are even more still births, breech births, and more premature births. As well as new restrictions and working from home means less mobility, has an impact on the pelvis. Combine this with the fact that partners are not allowed into hospitals, it is making pregnancy an especially anxious time. There is now more post-natal depression and many new mothers have no one to ask for help, with the NHS not offering anti natal classes and NCT being prohibitively expensive”.

Elizabeth informed us that WLDC were very pleased that thanks to the generous support of the Innovation Fund, they were able to help and support these pregnant women and their partners.

Elizabeth said that they started with 9 couples, which grew to 16 local couples, meaning that they were able to support 32 people in total.   

Feedback from participants was very positive including the following:

“We have found these very useful, especially as other antenatal classes have been cancelled due to covid-19. Particularly enjoyed Molly’s sessions.”  

“We just wanted to thank you for the antenatal classes; we have found them very useful and have given us confidence and invaluable information.”

“These sessions were incredibly helpful. They covered a vast array of topics that prepared me mentally and physically to face the peculiarities of my pregnancy and feel more confident about the labour, giving birth and the 4th trimester after birth. Janet did a fantastic job facilitating these sessions and inviting true experts to speak on all the subjects. I would definitely recommend this course to all my pregnant friends.”

“From not having that much information to start with I have gained some well needed knowledge.”

“I feel the sessions covered everything very well and gave space to ask questions.”

Elizabeth stated “This project has been very successful especially at this time when the NHS is under such strain and not being able to offer adequate antenatal classes. The classes are now finished, and we are still having requests from the local NHS midwife co-ordinators.  We would therefore really like to continue these especially at this difficult time and are looking for further funding.

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