PARENTS who welcome a newborn often experience a wide range of emotions, especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many new mums experience post-partum “baby blues” after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying spells and difficulty sleeping.
It is estimated that post-partum blues occurs in 50% to 80% of new mothers and in the first few days after delivery.
Some first-time mothers also undergo a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression.
Keeping this in mind, Sunway Medical Centre (SMC) has introduced its Virtual Parentcraft Antenatal Classes 2021 for the benefit of expectant couples.
“The Virtual Parentcraft Classes feature a holistic team of medical professionals to help expectant couples in their journey to parenthood,” said SMC consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Thow Sun Ta.
Besides obstetricians, gynaecologists and paediatricians, the classes also featured the nursing team, dietitians, physiotherapists and speech therapists, he said.
The pandemic was impacting the people, including pregnant women, in many ways, he pointed out.
“In terms of physical health, pregnant women are considered high risk as they are an immunocompromised group and more vulnerable to infections.
“In terms of mental health, there are concerns over the safety of Covid-19 vaccines during pregnancy and post-pregnancy, for those who are breastfeeding.
“Therefore, we provide assurance and support as well as advise pregnant women to address their physical and mental health concerns.”
Dr Thow continued, “The more important thing is to help women who are planning to conceive understand how to take care of their safety as well as the baby’s during this time.
“I typically advise my patients who are planning to conceive to first go for the Covid-19 vaccination.”
He said antenatal classes were also helpful for first-time fathers in being supportive of their wives during their pregnancy.
SMC’s antenatal classes present topics such as health in pregnancy, exercise, labour and birth management, pain relief, breastfeeding and caring for the baby.
The hospital runs six classes a year, which are divided into two sessions each. Each session is held on a Saturday from 2pm to 5pm.
The next session is on Sept 11 and 25, and the last session of the year is on Nov 13 and 27.
Each couple may attend one (antenatal) class and learn about labour and delivery, prenatal and postnatal care, care of newborn, breastfeeding, vaccination, nutrition, fitness and screening of newborn’s hearing.
“Expectant couples can join anytime during their parenthood journey,” said Dr Thow.
“We have made it available all year round and it is held once every two months.
“We also provide end-to-end service, from pre-delivery consultations to delivery and post-partum recovery,” he said.
On whether complimentary services will be offered to participants of these classes, he said: “At the moment, those who attend these classes and deliver at our hospital will get their class fees refunded.
“Their baby can also be registered with our Kids Club that comes with its own set of benefits such as discount on room rates as well as selected pharmacy drugs and vaccines.”
The price for the virtual antenatal classes is RM120 per couple. Couples are required to pay the fee prior to joining the virtual class.
Additionally, couples who deliver at SMC are entitled to participate in a lucky draw contest, apart from the class fee refund.
All couples attending the classes will receive a goodie bag and unlimited access to the presentation materials and resources shared during the class.
Expectant couples can sign up for these classes at the registration counter of the hospital’s Women and Children’s Centre on the 2nd Floor, Tower B, or its website (www.sunwaymedical.com/community-happenings/virtual-parentcraft-classes-2021).
Payment can be made via cash or credit card at the centre’s cashier counter or via online banking.