When Do I Need to Book Onto Antenatal Classes?by Your Baby Club
How do you learn about all the things you need to know? How do you know if you want to attend antenatal classes? Are you better knowing, or not knowing? In fact, only you know how much you want to know.
Our experience tells us that those that attended good quality antenatal classes, reported a more positive birth experience because there was nothing out there to surprise them, and they felt more in control.
When to Start
We would avoid signing onto classes too early, unless it's an early pregnancy workshop, as you don’t want to forget all the information by the time you need it. Once you have had your 20-week scan, you are at a great point in your pregnancy to book onto some classes.
There is a wealth of choice out there and it can be difficult to know which one is the best fit for you.
What You'll Want to Learn
There's so much information on pregnancy, birth and beyond that a new mum can learn, want to know, and can benefit from. Gathering as much knowledge as possible gives you a huge advantage verses going in blind. Knowledge can arm you with the confidence you need to face every eventuality head-on, know what's happening to your body as your baby grows, what your options are during labour, what all the medical jargon being used means, and give you an idea of what to expect once baby arrives, like how to do the basics like change a nappy and breastfeed. These classes can help prepare you, your birth partner and baby's other parent (if different) for the road ahead - the more information you have, the more prepared you can be.
You'll want to look for courses that cover at least the following:
- Natural birth
- Complex birth
- Pain-relief in labour
- Instrumental delivery
- Home births
- Formula feeding
There are also classes out there that cover everything you need to know in early pregnancy too which cover everything you can find up to this point in the book and more - what to do, what to expect, when your appointments are etc.
Additional knowledge you can gain through workshops and classes for once baby is born also include:
- Infant first aid
- Practical parenting - changing nappies, sleep safety etc.
- Developmental baby massage
- Weaning and infant nutrition
- Mental health and wellbeing
The most important questions are 'who is running the course?' And 'what is their experience of caring for women in labour?' Ideally, we would recommend attending a midwife-led course. That way you know that all the information will be evidence based and delivered through experience and years of medical training.
Head over to Let’s Talk Birth and Baby, where you’ll find our Official Midwife has all these bases covered. She even offers her first class FREE. Details can be found in 'Our Experts' on page 12.