THERE’s fun, laughter and lots of learning, but there’s also a serious side to Tūranga Health's bi-monthly antenatal classes.
At the rate of 2.2 per 1000 births, the rate of Sudden Unexplained Death in Infancy (SUDI) in te Tairāwhiti is more than three times the national average.
And Hauora Tairāwhiti Mokopuna Ora safe sleep co-ordinator Kaniwa Kupenga-Tamarama says that through wananga like Tūranga Health's, there’s a determination to change that.
“It’s critical to protect pēpi from SUDI for that whole first year of life so we teach many ways of making sure baby is sleeping safely and doing that in a culturally-appropriate manner.
“There’s a long tradition of bed-sharing, for example, and we aren't here to say 'don't do that'. What we can do is show whānau how they can use things like pēpi pods or wahakura (woven basket beds) to keep baby safe. It's about making every sleep a safe sleep for baby.”
“Our two-day antenatal wananga cover all the other things that can help whānau keep baby safe from: a healthy warm dry home; substance-free pregnancies to labour and birth; and options around breastfeeding,” says Tūranga Health Well Child Tamariki Ora co-ordinator Janneen Kinney.
Around 700 pēpi are born in Gisborne every year and these days almost half are registered with the Tamariki Ora service run by Tūranga Health.
“The antenatal classes are perfect for first-time mama – or mama at any stage – who might need extra awhi and support: this could be getting a capsule, stopping smoking or getting ready to safe-sleep baby in a wahakura,” says Janneen.
“So in addition to Tamariki Ora, we can offer a wrap-around service to help take them through their parenting journey.”
-- Tūranga Health's next two-day antenatal class will be held on Wednesday 24 and Thursday 25 March, 9 Temple St, Gisborne.
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