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Prenatal Education during “Sheltering in Place”

May 06, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic presents new challenges for perinatal teams, including prenatal breastfeeding education. In-person clinic visits are limited and maternity care workers are having to find creative ways to connect with families.

Patients may require different approaches to prenatal education. For example, one birth facility in Louisiana shared that they are piloting “introvert” and “extrovert” virtual classes. The introvert style is focused on the presenter while participants use the chat feature for questions and comments. The extrovert style allows a participant’s camera to be enabled and encourages more dialogue. Other facilities have recorded their prenatal class and posted it on their website.

The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute is providing virtual Ready, Set, Baby prenatal education classes through May 2020; available in English and Spanish. This free service offers education for pregnancy, birth and postpartum care. Graduate lactation students teach the classes with assistance from IBCLCs. 

Many hospitals have implemented telehealth for low-risk patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. This presents an opportunity for health care providers to guide the integration of COVID-19 guidelines into the mom’s birth plan to make the birth experience as personable as possible. During a telehealth appointment, inform moms of resources such as the Coffective app, which includes content and videos to help mom and her supporters, be better prepared for the hospital experience.

A valuable component of prenatal breastfeeding education is talking with mothers and families about the importance of Quiet Hours and limiting visitors. This is a set time each day to encourage rest and allow time for healing and learning. Several Louisiana hospitals have reported that due to visitor restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, mothers are getting more rest and exclusivity rates have increased as much as 8-10 points. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges and birth experiences have been different than what many mothers envisioned, there have been positive outcomes. 

If you would like to submit a related story for consideration in future newsletters, please contact Betsy Dancisak at Betsy.Dancisak@la.gov. 

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