There are many reasons why Antenatal Classes are so important but quite simply, when it comes to labour and giving birth; knowledge is power. The more you know, the more choices you can make and the greater the understanding you have as to what is happening during this time.
Antenatal classes can ease any anxieties you might have going into labour and women may even say they start to feel a little excited about the experience.
Antenatal Classes are also a great opportunity to ask questions and when it comes to aspects like complications and epidurals, women and partners hear some worrying stories but when time is taken to explain further, it all becomes clearer and more reassuring.
Overall Antenatal classes can lead to a really positive birth experience. However, it’s important to set your expectations at the right level and Facilitators should keep things realistic. Some women can be left feeling disappointed with their birth, after an unrealistic expectation was set at classes. If the expectations are set right then women and birth partners are more accepting and understanding when things perhaps don’t always go to plan.
As a Midwife I’ve never come across a lady who has regretted taking birth preparation classes, but I am aware of women who say, I wish I’d taken the time to learn more!
Should my Birthing Partner attend Antenatal Classes?
It’s great for your Birth Partner to attend, they certainly have nothing to lose from attending.
Birthing Partners particularly father’s-to-be, worry they’ll feel uncomfortable or be the only other partner there but most birthing partners do choose attend. Class Facilitators are really conscious of what they’re talking about and what might make some people feel uncomfortable.
When to attend Antenatal Classes.
Consider attending your classes from around 32/34 weeks. If you do classes too early you can forget some information, too late and it can be a little too much at the end of a tiring pregnancy. On the rare occasion baby might also arrive early you won’t miss anything!
Choosing the right Antenatal Class for you.
Choosing a provider is something you’ll need to do your homework on. The first question you need to ask is do we want to pay for classes?
If the answer is no then there’s normally a set of classes your Maternity Unit runs free of charge, which can be really great and will cover what you need to know. These classes can be limited on time and dates that may fit with your schedule. They may contain a large group of participants, this can sometimes make it harder to socialise within the group, particularly if you wanted to meet other parents-to-be and form friendships. During this current Pandemic nearly all classes have moved online but with the same informative content, so it’s worth looking on your Maternity Unit’s website or ask your midwife what’s available.
If you want to pay for classes then the choice is yours! Start with an internet search and see what is available in your local area, there is often a lot of choice. See what times they run their classes, days of the week and participant size. Don’t always go with the obvious choices because there’s lots of great companies out there who might offer something slightly different from the generic form of classes.
Bump to Beyond your Birth offers a more personalised approach which is one to one with couples. It caters for couples who may not want to do group sessions or can’t fit a set of classes into their schedule. It also appeals to couples who may have a particular worry or anxiety surrounding birth or who have attended group classes but want help with prepping their home or want a one to one Birth Plan discussion. I also work with women who have already experienced birth but want a refresher course.
Virtual Antenatal Classes.
Lots of Antenatal classes have gone virtual due to the current climate, including Bump to Beyond your Birth. They’re still full of great content but less interactive. Clients using Bump to Beyond your Birth have enjoyed the virtual side to classes making them easy to access from the comfort of their own home and being one to one classes it hasn’t made a huge difference in how they are delivered.
If you’re still not sure ask for testimonials or feedback, it’s a great way to see what others think of the classes. At Bump to Beyond your Birth you can book a free 15 minute discovery call to see what the classes can offer you, it’s also a great way to have an informal chat and to see what I can offer you.
Whichever path you choose, good luck and enjoy the learning process!