‘Getting Ready for Baby’ celebrates first birthday

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Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust is celebrating one year of its Getting Ready for Baby and Getting Ready for Toddler programmes through the Early Intervention Transformation Programme (EITP).

EITP, backed by a range of government departments and agencies, aims to improve outcomes for children and young people across Northern Ireland through embedding early intervention approaches.



Since it began last year, 577 women from across the area and many partners have taken part in the Getting Ready for Baby Programme which supports parents through pregnancy, preparing for labour and the early days of baby’s life.

For the first time in Northern Ireland, this new approach links clinical antenatal appointments with parenting group support.

Patricia McStay, Head of Midwifery and Gynaecology for the Southern Trust explained, “Having a baby is a very exciting time. Along with the physical changes the mother will experience, there is also a lot of new information for parents to absorb in preparation for their new arrival.



“Attending antenatal care is very important for the physical health and wellbeing of both mum and baby. However, we also now know that education classes are just as important in supporting parents to cope with pregnancy, birth and right through to the early days with their new arrival.

“One year on we are delighted with the response to the programme, we have had 308 babies born, parents are finding it much more convenient to combine their check-ups with antenatal education and the rates of normal deliveries and breastfeeding amongst participants are excellent,”  she added.

Getting Ready for Toddler was introduced in September to help give pre-school children the best start in life. Each funded pre-school setting now has an aligned Health Visitor to work closely with teachers and parents and a new preschool Health Review has been introduced to address the gap between the previous two year assessment and the time children see a School Nurse in Primary One.



Julie McConville, Head of Health Visiting and School Nursing for the Southern Trust said, “The preschool years are so important for a child’s social and emotional development and can have a significant impact on their future health and wellbeing. 

“We are delighted to team up with our preschool colleagues, combining our health visitors’ skills and experience with the teachers’ observations and detailed knowledge of the children in their day to day care along with parents views of their child’s development to make sure that any concerns are addressed at a much earlier stage and that all toddlers are getting the best start in life.”



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