HAPPY TOGETHER: Troy and seven-month-old Parker Ferguson.
HAPPY TOGETHER: Troy and seven-month-old Parker Ferguson. Cordell Richardson

Dads encouraged to be front and centre in baby prep

THE birth of a child is not just women's business.

West Moreton Health's women, children and family, nursing and midwifery director Lyn Barrett said dads were encouraged to share the parenting journey by being involved in every step from prenatal care to labour, nappy-changing duties and playtime.

"Preparing for the arrival of a new baby is an incredible, life-changing experiencing and there is a lot of information and help available to parents as they navigate this exciting and sometimes daunting time," Ms Barrett said.

"It is a special time not just for women, but fathers too and we want West Moreton dads to know they are welcome to be involved in antenatal appointments as well as baby's delivery so they feel included and prepared for their baby's arrival."

Ipswich Hospital encourages fathers to attend regular antenatal appointments during a pregnancy wherever possible.

Antenatal classes are designed for couples to jointly learn more about what they can expect during labour, delivery and post-birth.

"At Ipswich Hospital we have a great uptake in the number of men who attend antenatal classes alongside their partner in the lead-up.

"The classes, which are held after hours and on weekends for the convenience of couples, provide expectant parents with information about labour, caesarean births, breast feeding, healthy diets as well as practical information about parenting, everything from bathing the baby and changing nappies to playtime and ways to bond with their child."

Ms Barrett said West Moreton Health also implemented key changes in 2017 to allow partners to stay overnight at Ipswich Hospital when a woman was induced for labour to ensure partners could be involved and participate in the pre-delivery.

"We find the more engaged fathers are in appointments the more they feel confident and prepared for their parenting role and how to best support their partner and child.''

"After the birth men are also welcome to attend child health clinic appointments to better understand their child's growth and development.

"There are no silly questions and we are here to offer guidance and reassurance to both mum and dads - so don't be shy."

For more information contact the Antenatal Clinic on 38101310 or Child Health Clinic on 38172340.

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