Training for Northumberland midwives to encourage physical activity in pregnancy – Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has funded aquanatal training for some of its midwifery team as part of the Active Hospitals programme.

Twelve of the midwives working in Northumberland were selected to take part in a two-day training course at the Wentworth Leisure Centre in Hexham recently, so that they could qualify to teach their own midwife-led aquanatal classes.

Northumbria Healthcare’s public health midwife, Carla Anderson, said: “Physical activity is hugely important for a healthy pregnancy and so having a range of different suitable activities on offer in the area is crucial too.

“This training will mean that aquanatal classes can be rolled out across Northumberland, providing an opportunity to support a healthy pregnancy with exercise while being supported by one of our midwifes.

“We would like to thank Active Northumberland for welcoming us to the leisure centre and to the brilliant team there for looking after us so well.”

Aquanatal sessions can help reduce blood pressure, as just being in water causes your body to rid itself of excess water and salt and alleviate swollen ankles and wrists, while also improving cardiovascular efficiency, helping pump more blood around the body and to the placenta, providing baby with more oxygen and nourishment.

The trust’s maternity team will be releasing details of classes soon, including details of support to access maternity swimwear if needed. A plan for classes in North Tyneside is also being developed.

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Northumbria Healthcare is one of just four organisations in the country to be part of the Active Hospitals pilot, which seeks to improve healthcare professionals’ awareness of the importance of physical activity while boosting their confidence and skills to promote it to patients.

Maternity is one of the key pilot ‘pathways’, which all involve staff being trained to have more conversations about being active to benefit physical, mental and social wellbeing. Others include an Active Ward, oncology, diabetes and staff wellbeing.

Active Hospitals is funded by Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Sport England and the National Lottery, and led by the NHS Transformation Unit.

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