Left upset over anti-natal classes

Only mums allowed - male partners are not welcome at Sleaford ante-natal classes.
Only mums allowed - male partners are not welcome at Sleaford ante-natal classes.

A father-to-be has described his annoyance at being shut out of attending ante-natal classes in Sleaford as a supportive partner.

Lee Shipley, a 35-year-old telecommunications engineer, had travelled all the way from his home in Sheffield to be by his partner’s side for the first session at Sleaford Children’s Centre in Money’s Yard on Thursday afternoon.

His partner lives in Ruskington, and he said he had always tried to get time off work to be there for 
scans and midwife appointments.

He said: “I have been there as much as I can as they encourage families to participate.

“We went to the children’s centre and the woman on the desk said partners are not allowed at the request of the midwife.

“We had not be warned in advance. I was shocked and so was my partner.”

The three-week course is run by United Lincolnshire Hospital NHS Trust once 
a week.

On Mr Shipley’s return at the end of the session, he learned other mothers had also been surprised by the exclusion of supportive partners.

Mr Shipley went on: “I went to see a midwife who said there were separate ante-natal classes involving partners held at Grantham Hospital.

“I suggested they could have 10 minutes on their own at the beginning or end of the class for personal questions and I would understand, but this is ridiculous.

“My partner has four weeks to go before her due date. You should be encouraging partners to attend and participate not penalising them when they do come. This pregnancy is as much mine as it is my girlfriend’s.”

He said there was plenty of room to accommodate partners and hoped that the hospital trust would reconsider its position for parents in 
future.

A United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust spokesman said they offer ante-natal classes for couples in Boston and Grantham, explaining: “The class in Sleaford is women only, historically the place they used to meet was very small, so we decided to offer it to mothers only to fit more in.

“Since they moved to a bigger facility, the feedback from the mothers was that they preferred it so they could meet other mothers and make friendships and feel more comfortable about more personal and private questions of a more sensitive and delicate nature.”

She insisted it is advertised as a women-only class and it was about offering as many options as possible to 
mothers.

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