Published on: 26 July 2022

Parents-to-be are discovering what to expect and skills to help them care for their new born babies and each other, as parent education classes return to South Tyneside.  

The classes had to be put on hold during the pandemic but have now returned to the Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre at South Tyneside District Hospital, marking the first step towards re-opening to births. 

The parent education classes include infant feeding and labour, water birth and active birth, with others in the pipeline including birth empowerment, Dads’ parent education sessions and parents-to-be.

The sessions take place every week and are already proving very popular with women and families.  They are being led by Joanna Wylie, the Trust’s new Patient and Staff Experience Lead Midwife and her colleagues.  

Joanna said: “I’m really excited the classes are back and they’re already proving popular.  They give people a great chance to come in, get information that will really help them and see around the birthing centre too.  It’s also an opportunity to meet each other and socialise in a relaxing and welcoming setting.”

Group sizes for the parent education classes are limited and people will still be asked to socially distance. They are held twice weekly on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and evenings. Anyone interested can call the hospital’s Antenatal Clinic between 9am and 4.30pm on 0191 404 1031 to book.

Midwife Joanna Wylie, centre, leads the classes with support from her team including Maternity Health Advisors Kirsty Lamb, left, and Julie Dodd, right..jpg

Midwife Joanna Wylie, centre, leads the classes with support from her team including Maternity Health Advisors Kirsty Lamb, left, and Julie Dodd, right.

To support parents during the pandemic, the team videoed their courses to share online and the sessions remain on the Trust's YouTube channel to view.

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust is continuing to work hard on plans to reopen the Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre for births.  A number of steps are underway including an investment of £680,000 to strengthen the workforce and recruit more midwives.

Melanie Johnson, Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) at the Trust said: “We’re delighted that our parent classes are up and running again at the Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre.  They are an excellent way for parents to find out what to expect when having a baby and ask any questions they may have.

“This marks an important step forward as we continue to work towards reopening for births and a huge amount of work is ongoing, working with our midwifery teams, to make sure we plan for this properly. We will confirm the date for reopening as soon as possible and continue to communicate with women and families in our care.”

South Tyneside’s Midwifery-Led Birthing Centre has been hugely popular since it first opened in 2019.  The Trust remains fully committed to its success and making sure it is the first choice for any women in South Tyneside, Sunderland and neighbouring areas, who wish to have a midwifery-led birthing experience.  

A further announcement will be made when the Trust has a confirmed date for when the MLBC will re-open to births.