Healthy happy beginningsLocations:
Healthy Happy Beginnings provides group pregnancy care for refugee women from Burma. Sessions are run fortnightly in a local community centre.
Healthy Happy Beginnings is a free, community-based program for refugee women from Burma (primarily Karen-speaking) and their families, during pregnancy and childbirth.
At this group pregnancy session you can talk about your pregnancy with other women having similar experiences. On some weeks, you will see the midwife on your own with an interpreter to check if you and your baby are healthy. You can ask the midwife and maternal child health nurses any questions. Your partner and children are welcome to come to the session.
Please note that if you attend Healthy Happy Beginnings, your first session will be at Werribee Mercy Hospital.
After that, group sessions are held at Sister Rita Douglas Centre, 42 Vincent Crescent, Werribee Vic 3030.
Werribee Mercy Hospital ward tours for Healthy Happy Beginnings participants are held four times a year.
Find us at:
300 Princes Highway
Werribee Victoria 3030
Sister Rita Douglas Centre, 42 Vincent Crescent, Werribee Vic 3030
How can people get access?
There are no special requirements to access the building.There are children’s play areas in the building.
Every second Wednesday at the Sister Rita Douglas Centre, 10am–12pm.
What to do before
Before your first Healthy Happy Beginnings session, please:
- find out how to get to the Rita Douglous Centre (42 Vincent Crescent, Werribee)
- ask your partner if they want to come with you
- write down a list of any questions you may have.
What to bring
- your Medicare card
- any current blood or urine test results
- any ultrasound results
- your Victorian Maternity Record (VMR), otherwise known as your ‘orange book’.
What to expect on the day
There are no waiting times. When you arrive, please join the group in the lounge area.
The midwife will call you into the private room during the group session.
At each visit, you may be supported by:
- a midwife
- a maternal child and health nurse
- an obstetrician (at the hospital)
- a refugee support worker
- an interpreter.
What questions should you ask
Please come to the session with any questions you may have about your pregnancy care.
Common questions include:
- Where do I go when I am in labour?
- How long is my hospital stay?
- Is an interpreter available during my hospital stay?
- Can my partner stay in the hospital with me?
- Can I request a female doctor?
Opportunities to be involved in research
We regularly participate in research projects. You can find more information on these projects at our classes, and how they can benefit other babies, mothers and families. Your midwife will also talk to you about participating in any projects.
Who to call if you have concerns afterwards
If you are concerned about your pregnancy or your baby please call 03 8754 3400. This phone number operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For health professionals
We provide group antenatal care for refugee women from Burma, primarily Karen-speaking. Sessions are run fortnightly in a local community centre.
To attend Healthy Happy Beginnings, a GP can refer their patient to Werribee Mercy Hospital Antenatal Clinics. The initial appointment will be located in Outpatient Clinics at the hospital. From there, if clinically suitable, the rest of your patient’s pregnancy appointments will be scheduled in the Healthy Happy Beginnings program.
If the woman has self-referred to Healthy Happy Beginnings, she will be asked to obtain a referral from her GP.
What/when you should refer to us
This service is for refugee women from Burma, primarily Karen-speaking. The Karen people are an ethnic minority group living in South-East Asia, predominantly Burma.
There are two referral paths for this service:
- A GP can refer the woman to Werribee Mercy Hospital Antenatal Clinics. If clinically appropriate, the midwife or obstetrician will ask the woman if she would like to attend Healthy Happy Beginnings. If she does, her appointments will be transferred across.
- Women can self-refer to Healthy Happy Beginnings. If there is no referral with our Antenatal Clinics, the woman will be asked to arrange for her GP to send one.
If a woman experiences complications during her pregnancy, she can still attend Healthy Happy Beginnings. However, she may also need to attend additional antenatal appointments at Werribee Mercy Hospital Antenatal Clinic.
Resources for you
The Karen people are an ethnic minority group living in South-East Asia, predominantly Burma.
Werribee Mercy Hospital
300 Princes Highway
Werribee Victoria 3030
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