Expectant parents are now having to access other programs after Fraser Health cancelled prenatal classes in Abbotsford.
The courses were previously offered by Abbotsford Community Services (ACS) at the public health unit on Marshall Road.
Fraser Health offered a “prenatal access grant” to ACS for families on limited incomes to pay for participation.
The grant program was cancelled “in an effort to standardize services across the region and ensure appropriate use of resources,” said Fraser Health spokesperson Nafisa Abdulla.
“As a public agency mandated to improve the health of the population we serve, Fraser Health must evaluate how we spend our resources and ensure that we are getting maximum health outcomes,” she said.
Families in Abbotsford are now referred to prenatal services in neighbouring communities.
These include sessions offered through Douglas College in Chilliwack and Mission.
Other programs include a four-week series of classes offered through the business Abundant Birth and Wellness, which began the sessions in July. The next series is scheduled to start Sept. 15 at Your Pregnancy Options (32920 Ventura Ave.).
The series is facilitated by Justine Pearson, who has been certified as a birth doula since 1999.
For more information about those classes, visit prenatalclasses.ca.
Fraser Health also refers expectant parents to the Best Beginnings public health program to be connected with services in their community.
Moms-to-be are encouraged to register for the program in their first trimester at the same time as they sign up for pre-admission at the hospital where they plan to give birth or when they visit their doctor or mid-wife.
For more information about the program, visit fraserhealth.ca/your_health/best-beginnings.
Abdulla also encourages expectant parents to visit their local public health unit to get more information on various topics.
The Abbotsford clinic is located at 34194 Marshall Rd.
To register for the Douglas College sessions in Mission or Chilliwack, call 604-527-5472 or 1-866-930-5472 (toll-free).