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Ante-natal classes under pressure

Many hospitals are having to cut back on their ante-natal class provision because of NHS finance problems, claims the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and the Royal College of Midwives.

The BBC reports that increasing financial concerns are leading to many hospitals in England and Wales having to scale back a number of ante-natal courses and this could mean many women are being left unprepared for childbirth.

The National Service Framework in maternity services stressed that ante-natal care is vital to ensure that parents are also equipped to deal with the needs of their child as well as being correctly informed about birth choices.

A total of 19 areas across England and Wales have cut or closed ante-natal class provision or visits to maternity units and this could mean a dramatic fall in state-funded birth provision, especially as many parents can not avoid private classes.

Belinda Phipps, chief executive of the NCT, explained: "So much of the NHS is closing antenatal classes down. There are a lot of people who would have gone to those classes, but they can't."

Increasing numbers of parents are considering private maternity services care due to concerns about the decreasing lack of high-quality NHS provision.

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Ante-natal classes under pressure
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