Group of doctors, midwives and nurses offering free online sessions to expectant mothers, new moms in the Kamloops-Thompson region

Free support for moms

A Kamloops-based maternity group has launched an online program to help families who recently had a baby and those who are expecting during COVID-19. 

Thompson Region Division of Family Practice, made up of doctors, midwives and registered nurses, is offering free Zoom education sessions, which cover topics like infant feeding, first aid and postpartum body health. Guest speakers, including a physiotherapist, lactation consultant and psychiatrist, will also bring maternity-related information to the sessions.

Dr. Ruth Brighouse, one of the presenters, tells Castanet the group piloted the program in the summer. 

"But COVID hit and so we thought, 'Well, where could we get the biggest bang for our buck?' We felt that with the COVID pandemic probably the biggest impact to women would be in the postpartum period. All of a sudden, you've been discharged from hospital or discharged from care and you're home with your baby," she says.

Monique Walsh, executive director of the Thompson Region Division of Family Practice, says the sessions are an opportunity for moms to connect, even if it's in a virtual setting. 

"Things look different now. How we build social connections looks different," she says. "The fact you can join the session from the comfort of your own home, and access this interdisciplinary team of providers, depending on topics that interest you is really quite powerful and innovative." 

From what she's heard anecdotally, Brighouse adds women are feeling the brunt of the pandemic's social restrictions.

"They're very anxious about mingling with other moms, even mingling with their friends, worried about getting sick themselves or their baby getting sick, confusion about whether grandparents can come over and handle a baby without a mask," the local doctor says. 

The online sessions will run in the fall and winter; they'll be held Tuesday nights from now to Dec. 15, and from Jan. 12 to Feb. 9. Each Zoom meeting will be about an hour-and-a-half long. The presenter will share slides for about 20 minutes and then it'll be open for discussion.

"Women are allowed to talk about anything they want to, ask questions about anything they want to. It can pertain to the topic of the evening but it doesn’t have to," Brighouse explains.

To register or to learn more, click here.

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