Trust introduces Zoom yoga classes for expectant mums

Trust introduces Zoom yoga classes for expectant mums

MUMS-TO-BE are receiving extra support in the pandemic with online pregnancy yoga classes and a dedicated helpline number staffed by midwives.

The South Eastern Health and South Care Trust recently introduced Zoom yoga classes and the helpline service which is in the Maternity ward of the Ulster Hospital in Dundonald as a way of filling gaps in service provision.

More than 40 women take part in two classes every week in the classes organised by the Ulster Hospital Home from Home ward manager, Katherine Robinson with the help of yoga instructor Gill Bann.

The Ulster Hospital’s Home from Home ward recently celebrated its 5,000th water birth, with nearly half of all mums now choosing that option.

The classes are for women who are 14 weeks pregnant and upwards on Zoom for about an hour on Mondays at 5pm and Wednesdays at 6.30pm. Gill is a trained specialist in pregnancy yoga and is used to working with pregnant women.

Katherine, who has been a midwife since 1992, explained what she felt it was important to start the classes.

“We started it as preparation for pregnancy classes had stopped during the pandemic and mums were coming into deliver without those preparations. You can always tell when a mum hasn’t had birth preparation. The Home from Home ward is for low risk mums who want a relaxed birth but mums are coming in really frightened and that’s not what we want,” she said.

“We could see mums were getting more and more fearful. Yoga teaches them breathing and gives them tools to help them stay calm, regardless of what birth they have.

“Even if they need to have a section, their breathing techniques will help them stay calm and listen to what the medical team are saying.”

Katherine pointed out that the classes were designed for all pregnant women, not those who had previous yoga experience.

“The feedback has been great and some women have told us that it’s been great for them to see another woman with a bump, even if it is online. Some have felt quite alone in their pregnancy and have not gone outside their bubble,” she said.

“Gill is brilliant and she encourages mums to be aware of their baby and speak to them, making connections all the time.

“I would hope to continue this after the lockdown restrictions are lifted and also to do an antenatal class as it can help mums get their body back into shape gently,” she added.

Gill said that her pregnancy yoga classes focuses on breathing techniques, mediation and mindfulness.

“It’s all about helping the mums connect with their babies and opening up their bodies to be ready for labour.”

The Ulster Hospital has also introduced a dedicated Maternity advice telephone line running seven days a week. An audit of the calls coming into the Maternity Ward revealed that mums to be required information for non-emergency situations.

Operating from Monday to Fridays (8am-6pm) and from 9am to 2pm on Saturday and Sunday and available to all mums to be in the South Eastern Trust area, the telephone advice line is staffed by midwives and can be reached at (028) 9041 3864.

For further information, email