SCORES of pregnant women and their partners gathered recently for the fifth staging of PREGMATE (Pregnant Mothers Advancing Through Education) — an antenatal health fair staged by the Manchester Chapter of the Jamaica Midwives Association.
According to a release from the Southern Regional Health Authority, this is the only initiative of its kind in Jamaica.
Registered midwife at the Manchester Health Department (MHD), Petal McNally, who is the organiser of PREGMATE, explained that the initiative was developed to educate pregnant women, as there was an increase in areas of concern in pregnancy, such as anaemia, dental care and nutrition.
She added that the health fair has been well received over the five years, adding that it is encouraging to see the expectant fathers who come to support their partners, and who are eager to learn about various aspects related to pregnancy.
The release said more than 100 pregnant women and their partners participated in this year's forum, which was held at the Mandeville Comprehensive Clinic on May 31, and focused on topics such as, exercise in pregnancy; importance of an ultrasound; emotional support during pregnancy; birth registration and naming of a baby; postnatal care and home visits; eye examination during pregnancy; and dealing with minor disorders in pregnancy.
Public health nurse at the MHD, Chereitha Lalor, lauded the efforts of the PREGMATE organisers, noting that their hard work is empowering their clients.
“As we work towards having health for all, what better way than to engage our mothers on how to improve their health by empowering themselves through education. I encourage you to listen carefully to the topics… and practise what you have learnt, and also share with others,” Nurse Lalor said.
Shanoy Kelly said her experience at this year's forum was “amazing”.
She noted that though she participated in the 2017 forum, the topics explored were very informative and taught her many new things.
“The experience will definitely help me to be a better mother as I prepare to take care of my newborn. I learnt many things in 2017 and this year was equally informative and educational,” she said.