What is antenatal education for and what should it look like?
At Frombumps2 babies we believe that all expectant mothers and fathers should be helped to prepare for birth and parenthood and groups and classes in pregnancy have been important to generations of expectant mothers and fathers. However, local provision varies in quality and accessibility and in some places has become patchy. Fathers can feel excluded, and midwives report that they feel ill-prepared to run groups and that the work is seen as a low priority. At the same time information technology and social networking are changing how new mothers and fathers learn and prepare for what will be the most significant change in their life.
Choosing a class
Think about what you hope to gain from antenatal classes so that you can find the sort of class that suits you best. Places in antenatal classes can get booked up early. It’s a good idea to start making enquiries early in pregnancy so that you can secure a place in the class that you choose. You can attend more than one class. Ask your midwife, health visitor or GP, or look on the internet for local groups. Speak to your community midwife if you can’t go to classes. The midwife may be able to lend you a video or DVD about antenatal care, or you may be able to rent or buy one. You can also check out availability in your local library.
You might be able to attend introductory classes on baby care early in pregnancy, but most antenatal classes start around 11 weeks before your baby is due, when you are around 29 weeks pregnant. If you’re expecting twins, start your classes when you’re around 28 weeks pregnant because your babies are more likely to be born early. Some units offer antenatal classes for women expecting multiples – ask your midwife about this.
The kinds of topics covered by antenatal classes are:
- health in pregnancy, including a healthy diet
- exercises to keep you fit and active during pregnancy
- what happens during labour and birth
- coping with labour and information about different types of pain relief
- how to help yourself during labour and birth
- relaxation techniques
- information about different kinds of birth and interventions, such as Ventouse or forceps delivery
- caring for your baby, including feeding
- your health after the birth
- “refresher classes” for those who’ve already had a baby
- emotions and feelings during pregnancy, birth and after
Some classes cover all these topics. Others focus on certain aspects, such as exercises and relaxation, or caring for your baby or practical birthing techniques.
Whether you’re trying for a straightforward-as-possible birth, are anxious to address your individual fears, or just keen to meet others in the same situation, antenatal classes can help give you the skills and strength you need.
Linda Lilwall Registered Midwife at frombumps2babies feels that “Many people find their confidence levels are increased after attending a course, which in itself makes both birth and parenting an easier prospect.”
Indeed all the evidence suggests that women that attend parent education classes cope better with labour and require less pain relief
From bumps2babies runs weekly antenatal classes – including our positive Birthing workshop for couples from 29 weeks see the website for more details www.frombumps2babies.co.uk or call Linda on 07920192881
Here is what couples have said about the birth classes
“Honest, practical advice and knowledge from a professional which was very reassuring and made me feel less anxious overall about labour”
“Definitely go! The info presented was extremely useful”
“Worth attending to gain very useful tips from a practising midwife”
”Impartial Advice and Supportive Environment – would highly recommend”
Or call 07921 803863 for a chat on how we can help you prepare for your birth