Online learning and support for pregnancy, birth and beyond-how does it work?
As we navigate the unexpected and unstable changes happening in our world right now, a lot of peoples are moving from offering them face to face to online.
Some of these things that may feel normal and already be part of your life for example you might already be doing some exercise using online programmes or youtube videos.
They are things that you may never have experienced online and cannot quite get how they are going to work.
I get that.
Years ago I was made redundant from a biotech company I worked for. As part of my redundancy I got a package to support me in finding another job. I choose to hire Suzanne Doyle Morris, a female coach I had met through a women in science network I belonged to, and who specialised in supporting women in male dominated fields. I was unpleasantly surprised when she explained that we would be working over the phone, because I didn’t believe it would work as well as face to face. Boy was I wrong! The sessions with Suzanne were extremely powerful and helped me not only see what I wanted to do, but also helped me shift out of the frozen feeling I had, and develop a way of being that had positive impact way beyond the job finding process.
Fast forward to today-I can imagine if you were looking forward to face to face group classes such as antenatal classes, or had hired a doula, how too may believe that it is not going to work and that there is no point in continuing.
I get it. I am having doubts too.
On a normal week I sing in a choir, and I go to a 5rhythms dancing group. These are moving online and I haven’t experienced them yet so I’m feeling a mix doubtfulness but also some of curiosity about how they are going to work online. I have already heard really positive stories from people who have taken part in such groups.
What I am also seeing however is that pregnant women are really worried about what is going to happen when they give birth, and that the support is needed more than ever.
As a doula I am used to support people with a mix of face to face and remotely via email, texts, whatsApp and phone calls. I have even supported people through several births over the phone.
What I can tell you is this: whilst some things cannot be done remotely (such as massage), and face to face support offers something unique, many aspect of support can be provided remotely (for example, I am able to teach techniques to help turn a breech baby or carry a baby in a sling, online), , remote support is still extremely helpful.
At a time of uncertainly, when things are changing daily, having someone who understands and knows the system, can find information for you, and simply be a listening ear and help you navigate your worries and concerns is invaluable.
So if you are pregnant or a new mother right, and you are worried or scared, please consider hiring someone who can support you through it.
Here is a list of people and organisations that can offer remote support:
One advantage is that you are no longer constrained by distance, so you can lookup antenatal and postnatal classes nationally and pick the ones that suit you best.
Here is a list of organisations you can get support from:
Find a doula at Doula UK, the non profit associations for doulas in the UK. Having a doula will help you navigate your birth and postnatal options whilst things change in the maternity services right now, and also guarantee that you have someone to talk to when you need to. I have blogged several times about what doulas do, both to support birth and the postnatal period, feel free to scroll through my previous blog posts to read these.
- Myself , Sophie Messager
- Carly J Lokrheim-Doula
- Sarah Budden
- Nikki Mather
- Jane Wallington
- Cambridgeshire doulas
- Nationally https://imuk.org.uk/
- Nationally https://privatemidwives.com/
- https://www.neighbourhoodmidwives.org.uk/ (London and Southampton)
Antenatal and postnatal education
- Jenna Rutherford online antenatal course
- Fear Free Childbirth and Fearless mama ship
- The positive birth movement, a network of pregnancy and birth support groups, linked up by social media
- NCT antenatal and postnatal classes https://www.nct.org.uk/
- Meg Hill evidence based videos of antenatal education for just £20
- The motherside provides a support networks and a g global community and support network for all mums and mums-to-be
- Calmfamily is an education CIC that provides consultations and classes to educate and support parents
- The daisy foundation offer antenatal and postnatal classes
Pregnancy/postnatal exercise classes
- Birthlight antenatal and mother and baby yoga. Contact your local teacher to find out what they are offering remotely
- Bryony Vickers pregnancy and postnatal yoga and baby massage
- Japjeet Rajbir Kaur Khalsa yoga classes
- Kirstie Broughton Breathe Birth Yoga
- Pippa Moss Pregnancy and Postnatal yoga and Doula support
- Ripple Effect Yoga
- Zing Wellness pregnancy and postnatal pilates
- Debi Sheridan sling dance classes
- Carifit babywearing workout classes
Free meditations/relaxation tracks/relaxation techniques
- The Heart math institue quick coherence technique (2 min)
- Insight timer is a free app with hundred of different guided meditations
- Tara Brach Guided meditation for times of pandemic
- Free Anxiety Release And relaxation Relaxation Anchor track for Covid 19
- The 5 4 3 2 1 technique for coping with Anxiety
- Rebozo relaxation techniques for pregnancy birth and beyond
Mental health professionas/organisations
- Zoë Tolman counsellor & psychotherapist specialising in perinatal mental health.
- Alex Kremer fertility support, birth trauma, hypnobirthing and parenting support.
- Traumatic birth recovery : practitioners trained in a fast birth trauma release technique called the Rewind technique
- Make birth better: A collective of parents and professionals working together to end suffering from birth trauma.
- Mind is a mental health charity, they have a section on postnatal depression
- Mia Scotland is a perinatal psychologist
- Saveria EFT birth trauma and birth anxiety sessions
- Spiritual Health Programme (free)
- Jo Rogers doula and spiritual companion
- The Pandas foundation for perinatal mental health
- SHaRON is a peer support based ehealth system, available via a mobile phone app and associated website.
Breastfeeding support organisations
- National Breastfeeding Helpline
- The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers (ABM)
- The Breastfeeding Network (BfN), which includes the Drugs in Breastmilk Information Service.
- La Leche League
- Lactation Consultants of Great Britain. The professional association for qualified lactation consultants. Members of the association provide advice, support and consultations on breastfeeding in the UK.
So you see there are a lot of options available, from one to one to group classes, to charities. Do give a try to at least some of the free resources, you might be surprised by how helpful you find them!