Al Khor Hospital under Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has helped over 150 women prepare for pregnancy and childbirth by providing free antenatal classes. The classes, offered in English and Arabic, are designed to help women, and in some cases, their husbands, prepare for pregnancy, labour and normal childbirth.
According to Mariama Feika, Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Women and Newborn Services at Al Khor Hospital, they began the group antenatal classes for expectant mothers in March 2018 and to date, 156 women have already completed the programme.
The main purpose of introducing this service was to encourage and support direct access to midwifery services and to create an environment that normalises both pregnancy and birth.’
Feika said that the goal of the programme is to better prepare women, both physically and mentally, for labour and delivery and for the early days and weeks of parenting. Having a baby is a life-changing event, she said, and it can be very stressful for a new parent, which is why husbands are encouraged to attend, subject to approval of other participants.
One of the major benefits of the classes is that the women who’ve attended have indicated they are better prepared for pregnancy, labour and delivery. She said there has been a reduced request for pain relief during labour among women who have completed the classes, and the feedback received from all attendees have been very positive.
Talking to women early in their pregnancy allows adequate time to discuss breastfeeding, fetal growth monitoring, and weight control, as well as techniques that will help women manage their labour and delivery, such as breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, and muscle toning movements.’
The Patient Family Education team at Al Khor Hospital has been instrumental in providing the classes. Hopefully, by partnering with women throughout their pregnancy, says Patient Educator Fagr Al Azab A Alazab, expectant mothers will gain more confidence and be better prepared to stay healthy during their pregnancy.
Labour and delivery can be a challenging time for expectant mothers, especially first-time mothers. One of the benefits of the classes is that it allows expectant moms to meet some of the people who will care for them during labour and after birth. They can discuss their plans and any concerns they have with professionals and other parents.’
The antenatal and postnatal classes are part of several midwife/nurse-led initiatives provided at Al Khor Hospital. Earlier this year, midwifery-led bereavement and vaginal-birth-after-cesarean section (VBAC) clinics were also launched. These new services provide education, counseling and support to empower women as they make informed decisions about their care.
Since opening in 2005, Al Khor Hospital has been providing general medicine, surgery, emergency care, paediatrics, gynecology, and obstetrics services to the northern region of the country.
For updates and more information about the services offered in their facility, visit hamad.qa.