Free childbirth education and parenting classes via telehealth
Classes may be done at home via videoconference
Program to run throughout the Great Southern from early February 2016
A new service established as part of the State Government's telehealth initiative will mean expectant parents in the Great Southern can access free antenatal education classes via video link.
Pregnant mothers and their partners are invited to join a short series of antenatal and birth preparation classes, which will be beamed to their homes via secure videoconferencing software or they can link in at their local telehealth service.
Health Minister Kim Hames said using telehealth to deliver important education classes to expectant parents would potentially reduce the amount of travel required during pregnancy, and hopefully increase the number of people participating in important educational classes.
"It is hoped the antenatal education telehealth service will give expectant parents peace of mind to know they can access information to help them prepare for parenthood from even the most remote locations," Dr Hames said.
"Classes will cover a range of topics such as healthy pregnancy, labour and birth, pain relief, breast feeding and early parenting, delivered by WA Country Health Service midwives, dietitians and physiotherapists."
Four 30-minute classes will be offered, with six to seven participants for each class. Participants with good internet access and speed may be able to attend the classes from home, while others can attend at their nearest telehealth venue.
The service has been made possible by the State Government's Royalties for Regions program and the Southern Inland Health Initiative as part of the Maternal Health Improvement Program.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the provision of appropriate health care services was essential to the long-term sustainability of regional communities.
"Pregnancy and childbirth are incredible milestones and we want to ensure people living in regional and remote areas have the same level of access to the services as their metropolitan counterparts," Mr Redman said.
"The Royalties for Regions investment in telehealth services greatly improves access to quality health care. I am proud to see the Southern Inland Health Initiative delivering the Maternal Health Improvement Program and other innovative models of health care in regional WA."
The service will start in the Great Southern in early February 2016. Expectant parents interested in participating in the program can contact 9842 7546 for further information
The additional telehealth service is one of several projects under way to enhance antenatal and postnatal care throughout the Great Southern and Wheatbelt regions
Those who participate from their homes will be guided to download videoconferencing software, Scopia, and provided with a secure reference number to access the classes
Health Minister's office - 6552 5300
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6700