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Making Health Better
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Of the joys and challenges people face in life, none is more extraordinary than having a baby.

As well as physical, financial, and social changes, many women experience emotional changes during pregnancy. Mixed emotions are a normal and necessary part of preparing to become a parent.

It can be helpful for both expectant mums and dads to learn about ways to help themselves and others through this time of change.

The Northern Queensland Primary Health Network (NQPHN) Antenatal Outreach Program rolled out across the Cairns region to include communities such as Gordonvale, Cairns West, Edmonton, and Kuranda.

The program aims to provide culturally appropriate clinical antenatal education and health promotion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families who would not have otherwise attended any antenatal education.

Mookai-Rosie Bi-Bayan, who successfully tendered for the program, undertook collaboration with a range of local key stakeholders to ensure the program is designed and tailored to suit each of the communities it is delivered in.

Over six weeks, one session a week is held in each location, with transport provided by Mookai Rosie Bi-Bayan for families to attend.

Throughout the sessions, mums-to-be learn about understanding the human body signs, the labour process, pain management and coping strategies, assisted births, breastfeeding, immunisation, and more.

Debbie Towns, Health Team Leader at Mookai Rosie Bi-Bayan in Cairns, said she has received lots of great feedback from the community and other organisations about the education that is provided during the sessions.

Families are also encouraged to come along, with a ‘pregnant apron’ designed for the dads to wear to see just how much weight is involved during pregnancy.

“I am expecting my fourth child, and it’s absolutely amazing how much I have learnt,” program attendee Francine said.

“During the sessions I am learning things I’m amazed I didn’t know already—I’m really enjoying the education.”