baby

The first LGBTIQ antenatal class has launched to support same sex families.

The first antenatal class specifically designed for the LGBTIQ community is to begin this February in Sydney.

Rainbow Families is set to run a class that provides an inclusive, safe environment for expectant parents who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.

Midwife educators Janet Broady and Andrew Lee have developed the class in association with the volunteer organisation.

“The class is aimed at people expecting a baby in the next few months. It will cover pregnancy, birth and the post-natal period,” said Janet Broady.

“It is an LGTBIQ focused, inclusive, alternative to the parenting education classes offered by hospitals.”

The class will run on 26 February. Image supplied.

The class is said to be the first of its kind.

Rainbow Families’ Education Officer,  Justine Harris, says it will fulfil a need within the LGBTIQ community.

“Up until now the only option for LGBTIQ parents to be has been to attend mainstream antenatal classes," she said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"Lesbians, gays, involved donors and surrogates, trans and queer prospective parents will feel included.”

The idea came about after members of the LGBTIQ community found some antenatal classes exclusive and culturally insensitive.

In one example, a lesbian mother in Queensland said she was made to feel uncomfortable when the class leader was addressing birthing partners in her hospital-run class.

"The Physio still kept referring to all the 'husbands' obviously ignoring the big white elephant in the room I said something. I made a point to say 'and partners' after she said 'husbands'," wrote the mother in a blog for Rainbow Families QLD.

After being singled out by the class facilitator, the blogger said she "walked out to never return again".

Another expectant mother, Cheryl, told Mamamia: "I have lots of questions about our pregnancy, what to expect in delivery, what’s the best way to prepare.  I’d be worried about being in a class with straight couples, and whether I’d be comfortable, especially if I am put in groups with all the dads, or the instructor doesn’t know much about same sex couples.

"So having a group where we can feel safe and know we are accepted lets me be able to ask questions and learn about the wonderful changes about to happen to our family, " she said.

Rainbow Families Co Chair, Vanessa Gonzalez, said a 2016 survey revealed inclusive antenatal classes were a high priority among the Rainbow Families' community.

"We are really proud to be offering this to our community. This is the first class of its type," she said.

The class will cover a range of topics including pain relief, the stages of labour and baby care.

The Rainbow Families antenatal class will run on Sunday February 26th, 10am – 4.30pm at Joseph Sargent Community Centre, Erskineville - for more information click here