HSE launches mychild.ie and new pregnancy and child health information resources

mychild.ie will be an invaluable resource for parents from pregnancy through to their child’s first three years. Over 4,000 parents across Ireland contributed to the design of mychild.ie and the new pregnancy and child health books. 

The Minister for Health, Simon Harris, TD,  today (Thursday, 6th December) launched mychild.ie, a new HSE pregnancy and child health website and set of three books for parents and parents-to-be. Mychild.ie is designed to be a one-stop-shop where parents can access accurate and trusted information and advice on pregnancy and all the way through the first three years of their child’s life.

The website was launched alongside three new books for parents. The new ‘My Pregnancy’ book is a 224 page guide that will be given to pregnant women at their first antenatal appointment from early 2019. Parents will then receive the next books in sequence, ‘My Child: 0 to 2 years’ and ‘My Child: 2 to 5 years’, from their public health nurse.

Speaking at the launch of mychild.ie, Minister for Health Simon Harris TD said, “Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting and challenging times in life.  Supporting parents helps to give children the best start in life, and investment in early years pays a lifetime’s dividend, in health and in all areas of their development. 

“It is important also for parents to take time to look after themselves. The site contains some important information and practical advice on this and I’d really encourage all expectant and new parents to take a good look at it.” 

Dr Phil Jennings, HSE Lead, National Healthy Childhood Programme said, “National and international research shows that what happens to a child during pregnancy and the first three years of life will influence the child’s health and wellbeing for their lifetime. The National Healthy Childhood Programme is the core universal service delivered to all children. The new resources being launched today were created after extensive engagement with new parents, pregnant women and healthcare professionals and will enhance the quality of the service delivered.”

Over 4,000 parents took part in an online public survey, 20% of whom were expecting a baby. Face-to-face research was also carried out. These parents included those at different stages (first time pregnant, second child, mothers, fathers) and from a variety of locations across Ireland and different situations, including parents transitioning from homelessness, asylum seekers, teenage and young parents, and the Traveller community. The findings informed the scope, content and design of mychild.ie and the books.

HSE Chief Clinical Officer Dr Colm Henry said, “Over 62,000 babies were born in Ireland last year. That’s 7 babies every hour, being born into families supported by the helping hands of HSE team members. All parents want what's best for their child, and new parents in particular need support from everyone around them to achieve that. The relationship between healthcare professionals and parents is a strong and formative one. We hope these new resources will complement the care and information offered to parents by healthcare professionals from pregnancy right through their child’s early years.”

The mychild.ie site contains valuable information on pregnancy, labour, birth, babies and toddlers, along with important advice on parenting. It has been designed to be easy to use, particularly for mobile phones, which the majority of people use to read HSE content. The design includes user-friendly and accessible font and layout and instructional imagery. More content will be added on an ongoing basis as the site evolves.

The new resources were made possible by a partnership and grant funding from the Atlantic Philanthropies. This funding has enabled the Nurture Programme: Infant Health and Wellbeing to be established as a three-year programme to improve the information and professional supports provided to parents during pregnancy and the first three years of their child's life. The Nurture Programme is a partnership between the HSE, the Atlantic Philanthropies, the Katharine Howard Foundation and the Centre for Effective Services.

Jane Forman of Atlantic Philanthropies said, “Atlantic Philanthropies applauds the HSE’s development of the mychild.ie website and the related new resources for parents being launched today. Atlantic’s investment in the Nurture Programme: Infant Health and Wellbeing builds on our investments over two decades in the development of quality services for children and families in Ireland.

“Early childhood is the most crucial time to provide supports to parents and their children. It is wonderful to know that part of Atlantic’s legacy is that every baby born in Ireland and their families will now have access to the best information and advice.”

Dr Stephanie O’Keeffe, HSE National Director, Strategic Planning and Transformation said, “The Healthy Childhood Programme, is one of a number of national programmes established in the HSE, to implement the Healthy Ireland Framework. We are focused on how the HSE can design its services and train our staff to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families. At policy level, we are focused on working collaboratively with partners at national and local level to address wider factors that impact on the health and wellbeing of children and their families. Through the vision and generosity of Atlantic Philanthropies, the support of the Katherine Howard Foundation and the expertise and dedication of staff right across the HSE, these information resources will allow us to respond more effectively to the information and support needs of new parents and young families.”

ENDS

 

Issued by HSE National Press Office

Telephone 01 921 3912press@hse.ie

Last updated on: 06 / 12 / 2018