Face-to-face maternal tech
Derby woman Amanda Ogg has been the first mum-to-be in the Kimberley to use childbirth and parenting classes now available by video conference across regional WA.
Expectant mums and dads can undertake the course from their local health service and even from their own homes in some cases.
Ms Ogg took one of the six classes from Derby Hospital and the rest from home.
She did not see any difference between the telehealth session and an in-person class.
“I didn’t feel I was missing out by not having a face-to-face class,” she said.
“The video camera enabled the midwife to show us demonstrations of things such as how to bath a newborn.
“There’s a videocam on the participants as well, so you can all see each other on the screen.”
Ms Ogg said being able to do the course remotely through the WA Country Health Service had confirmed things she had previously only been able to read about.
“Websites and books have different views and their information is sometimes out of date, so it was good to be able to ask questions of an expert and get a direct answer,” she said.
Even though Ms Ogg — a teacher with School of the Air — uses the same type of video-conferencing tool at work, she didn’t think that experience was necessary.
“Anyone can use telehealth,” she said.
To join in the classes at the local health service, participants simply go to the centre and get taken to a meeting room where a staff member will help them log in to the telehealth conference on a big computer screen. Instructors then deliver interactive sessions using demonstrations, video clips and group discussions.
Topics include labour and birth, pain relief, breastfeeding and early parenting.
The classes are delivered by experienced midwives, lactation consultants and child health nurses.
To take the classes at home, people must have good internet access and a suitable laptop or device.
Each of the six sessions lasts an hour and they are held on Fridays, 2pm-3pm. Book online at WACHS’s maternal, child and youth health page or sihi.childbirtheducation @health.wa.gov.au
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