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Plunket to provide free parenting and pregnancy education

Plunket to provide free parenting and pregnancy education in Canterbury

First time parents are being encouraged to sign up for Plunket’s free Pregnancy and Parenting Education as soon as their pregnancy is confirmed.

From Tuesday (1 March 2016) Plunket will be delivering free District Health Board-funded pregnancy and parenting education Canterbury-wide.

Changes to the Ministry of Health specifications for providing free pregnancy and parenting education meant that Canterbury DHB last year invited organisations to submit proposals to deliver new services.

Plunket was awarded the contract for Canterbury to develop a range of course delivery options to meet the diverse needs of expectant parents. In line with the Ministry of Health specifications, they will be particularly focused on reaching first time parents, those living in remote areas, Maori, Pacific, Asian parents, parents under 24 years, and those with limited comprehension of the English language.

The new contract also places more emphasis on how parents can keep healthy during pregnancy and more support through to six weeks after the baby is born.

The Plunket contract replaces free services offered through the DHB Hospital and other organisations.

Carolyn Gullery, Canterbury and West Coast DHB General Manager Planning & Funding, says Plunket’s involvement means consistent services delivered close to home for new parents and parents-to-be.

“Plunket has been involved with supporting new parents and their babies for years, and this contract extends on that,” Ms Gullery says.

Plunket will continue to improve access to education for parents through the use of technology to provide online education programmes for more remote areas, which will help increase access to pregnancy and parenting education, she says.

Sonya Marshall, Plunket Southern Operations Manager, says Plunket is looking forward to offering families free parenting education at an earlier stage in their parenting journey.

“We will offer parents the same high quality education about pregnancy and birth, and also how to look after and build a relationship with their newborn,” Ms Marshall says.

“It will also give families the chance to meet Plunket people and find out what services they can access, whether that’s playgroups or PlunketLine.”

Anyone who has already booked with one of the maternity hospital classes will have their details forwarded to Plunket, so women do not need to book again. Plunket will advise parents-to-be about the location of classes or how they might access information about pregnancy and parenting.

For more information or to book a class with Plunket, ring 0800 291 658.


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