Prenatal education moves from the classroom to the web
Nova Scotia health department says fewer parents attending prenatal courses
Prospective parents in Nova Scotia are increasing being sent online for prenatal information rather than attending the traditional childbirth classes.
When Samantha Ernst was pregnant with daughter Adalynn, now six months old, she went to the Internet for information, talked to her friends and read books.
"It was really nice to have a support group," Ernst said. "I had a couple of other friends at the same time who were pregnant as well, so it was nice to have that support.
"But other than that, I didn't go to any special classes or anything like that, no."
She’s not the only one skipping prenatal classes, according to the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.
"The fact that there's low attendance, that families don't complete the course, we need to be sure that we're shifting our ways and approaches of offering prenatal in order to offer something to all families," said Suzanne Landry, coordinator of family health.
The department says funding for prenatal education has not changed and money has nothing to do with the shift in focus.
Not everyone agrees with the change in approach, however, and some argue the face-to-face classes are still necessary.
Nancy Rector runs a kids store that also offers breastfeeding classes. She speaks with new mothers regularly and doesn’t understand the new direction.
"Having online resources available is valuable. But the research shows, the literature shows that it's not nearly as valuable or effective as in-person discussions," she said.