As bellies grow, thoughts inevitably turn towards "What can I do to prepare for childbirth?". Fortunately for mums-to-be, there are plenty of options to help you feel prepared and take the mystery out of childbirth in Cayman.
Childbirth Preparation Classes & Doula Services
The Health Services Authority (HSA) offers a free eight-week educational series called ‘Parent Craft’. Classes are held on Monday evenings 5.30pm-7.30pm at the Women’s Health Centre located at the Cayman Islands Hospital. There is no charge or need to register in advance. Led by experts in the relevant fields, topics include, among others: nutrition for pregnancy, labour and delivery, knowing your baby, breast feeding, infant CPR, alternative methods of delivery and immediate postnatal care, postnatal care at home, safety, immunizations, family planning, relaxation in pregnancy and motor development in the first 12 months. You will also be taken on a tour of the maternity ward so you can familiarise yourself with the facilities. If you miss any classes, you may make them up during a subsequent eight-week course cycle. Tel: (345) 244 2649 or (345) 244 7627.
Doctors Hospital & Integra Healthcare offers Pregnancy Complete Care, a unique service in the Cayman Islands. They are the only multidisciplinary team on-Island that spans fertility, accredited fetal medicine, tertiary obstetrics, midwifery antenatal and postnatal support to tertiary neonatal and paediatric care; all working together to help you have a safe and healthy pregnancy journey, birth and beyond. Please visit www.pregnancy.ky for more information on their services and to book an appointment. Their website also provides free informational guides, articles and resources, including understanding slow labour, an overview of high-risk pregnancies and more.
Lamaze Childbirth Education Classes give parents-to-be a grounding in one of the most popular birth techniques. Lamaze classes approach childbirth as a natural and healthy process; they neither support nor discourage the use of medical interventions during labour and delivery. Instead, they educate mums-to-be about their options so that they can make informed decisions. Nurturing Birth Experiences (part of RVC Rehab Services) offers both group and private Lamaze classes. The course consists of six two-hour sessions with a maximum of 12 couples. These classes are a great way to meet other parents-to-be at a similar stage of pregnancy. Refresher childbirth classes, lactation consultation, and doula services are also available. Tel: (345) 916 8970.
Island Doula offers doula services for both vaginal and elective caesarean sections. As a certified birth and postpartum Doula, and with a background in nursing, Island Doula can assist with everything from creating a birth plan, preparing for labour, emotional support, accompanying mum-to-be to pre-natal appointments, as well as being present for the birth and providing breastfeeding support following the birth. Island Doula also offers several postpartum care packages, which include emotional support, help with breastfeeding, sleep education and even caring for the baby, doing laundry and running errands.
Ariel Grace is the founder of The Mom Method and is a registered Doula and pre and post-natal Pilates instructor. Ariel teaches childbirth-education and focused pre-natal and post-natal Pilates classes to inform, and prepare new parents for childbirth and a smooth recovery. As a birth doula, Ariel offers compassionate and non-judgmental, one-on-one individual physical, emotional, and educational support sessions for mamas throughout pregnancy and childbirth.
Postpartum Care & Lactation Consultants
With many new mums in Cayman living far away from family and in different time zones, the post-partum care offered in Cayman is essential.
Nurturing Birth Experiences (part of RVC Rehab Services) offer lactation services to help mothers get off to the right start with breastfeeding. They offer in-home visits and work with mothers to address practical issues and help set realistic expectations for your baby and yourself. They will leave you with strategies to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals. Tel: (345) 916 8970.
Island Doula offers several postpartum care packages which include emotional support, help with breastfeeding, sleep education and even caring for the baby, doing laundry and running errands.
The Cayman Islands Breastfeeding Support Group is a volunteer group which offers free support and education in breastfeeding to expecting and existing mothers. The group consists of experienced mothers who have breastfed, lactation consultants, nurses and midwives. They visit new mothers to offer free breastfeeding advice and support, and also offer telephone support. They will rent hospital-grade Medela pumps in emergency situations and provide reasonably-priced breast pumps for mothers returning to work. Email: email@example.com for more information.
The midwives at the HSA's Women's Health Centre offer free post-natal care and home visits for HSA patients. Tel: (345) 244 2649 / 2710 / 2732. They can provide general and breastfeeding support after the birth of your child. These services are also offered at the following health centres on-Island:
- Bodden Town Health Centre Available Monday and Thursday 8.30am-8pm; Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 8.30am-4pm and Saturday 8.30am-12pm. Tel: (345) 947 2299.
- East End Health Centre Available Monday-Friday 8.30am-4pm and Saturday 8.30am-12pm. Tel: (345) 947 7440.
- West Bay Health Centre Available on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 8.30am-4pm; Wednesdays 8.30am-8pm and Saturdays 8.30am-12pm. Tel: (345) 949 3439.
- North Side Clinic Available Monday-Friday 8.30am-4pm; Saturday 8.30am-12pm. Tel: (345) 947 9525.
Other Family Resources
The Family Resource Centre (FRC) at the Department of Counselling Services offers a range of free individual and group parenting services.
Postpartum Mental Health
Motherhood is a time that brings great joy; bonding with your baby, taking on an exciting new role and loving someone else more than you could ever imagine. However, as many as 80% of new mothers experience a range of other emotions too. They may feel that they are not bonding with their baby, have extreme mood swings or be very tearful. All of these emotions are completely normal within the first two weeks of giving birth and are often referred to as the Baby Blues. With time, patience, good self care and support from family and friends, symptoms will often gradually disappear within a few weeks of giving birth.
In some cases, these emotions and thoughts last more than two weeks postpartum and present as anger, guilt, sadness, appetite and sleep disturbances, irritability or thoughts of harming baby or yourself. If you experience any of these feeling, you may be suffering from a Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD) and you should seek help immediately. PMADs are temporary and treatable. The first step is identifying there is a problem and then seeking proper help. It is important for new mothers to understand they are not alone and not to blame. With the correct treatment you will feel well again. If you suspect you are suffering from a PMAD, please contact your GP or a mental health professional.