04 Feb 2015

First time parents to get life changing help

Evidence of the vital importance of the first 1,000 days of life is
behind a
new antenatal
education course being offered to all first time parents in Leeds with the ‘Preparation
for Birth and Beyond’ programme.

An event at
Leeds Town Hall saw the first showing of a new video about the scheme as
it is rolled-out city wide. The programme is built on recent research which
found that parents-to-be not only want to know more about birth preparation and
practical tasks, but they also benefited from support as they become parents.
This includes how it might feel emotionally, and how it might impact upon their

Lisa Mulherin, Chair of the Leeds Health and Wellbeing Board, said:

“I want the
people in the city to have the best help and advice to live healthy lives.
We have invested heavily in ensuring children in Leeds get the Best
Start in life and we are committed to achieving this. Knowing how
important the earliest months and years of life are, the efforts we put into
this work now will pay dividends for decades to come, changing people’s lives
for the better. I'm really pleased this work is to be rolled out across the
whole city by March 2015.”

Sarah Erskine, Leeds City Council advanced
health improvement specialist, said:

adapting national Department of Health material to meet the particular needs of
Leeds, experts are able to deliver this great new antenatal programme with six
sessions before the birth and one after the baby is born.

Visitors and Family Outreach workers lead most sessions, with the ‘Birth
preparation’ session delivered by a community midwife. In many areas, there are
specialist breastfeeding peer supporters who can help to deliver the infant
feeding session. By making sure the course is delivered in local children’s
centres, parents can find out about local services and groups before their baby
is born, as well as meeting other parents who live locally.”

Dr Ian Cameron, Director of Public Health with Leeds City Council, said:

“The course
is very interactive and encourages families to develop confidence in their own
strengths and abilities. It also places great emphasis upon explaining to
parents about baby’s brain development before birth and how they can support
their babies to feel secure and attached in their relationships with their
caregivers. It is all about giving them the very best start in life.”


  • Our developing baby

  • Changes for me and us

  • Giving birth and meeting our baby

  • Caring for our baby

  • Our health and well-being

  • People who are there for us

Both mums
and dads are invited to attend the course by their community midwife after
they have had their scan around 20-25 weeks. Involving dads during pregnancy is
vitally important as they can play a central role in supporting mum and in
caring for their new baby. They may have many questions themselves which they
need answers to. If dad is unable to attend, mums are encouraged to bring a
friend or relation with them.

General information
about the programme can be found from the Family Information Service www.familyinformationleeds.co.uk

Details of
courses in local areas are available from your community midwife.

Pete, Mel and baby Alice - who feature in the new video.

Notes for editors:

invitation only launch event for health practitioners and others working with
mothers-to-be and young families was held at Leeds Town Hall on the
morning of 5th February 2015.

For further information



City Council

Floor West, Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

07891 276270

0113 224 3602


Contact information

Leeds City Council Communications team