When you find out you are pregnant, it’s a very special time and there are so many exciting things you want to think about and plan for. One of the things you might want to consider is attending antenatal classes. Antenatal classes are a great way to help mums and dads to prepare for labour, birth and the early stages of parenthood.
We have a lot of contact with mums-to-be at around the 20-week stage when they book in for their newborn photography experience, so we know many are ready to look around for suitable local classes.
In the Lichfield and Burton upon Trent area, there are a number of private providers as well as some NHS courses and charities such as the NCT. Here is an overview of what to consider when making your choice and what types of antenatal classes are available.
What is an Antenatal Class?
Antenatal classes are designed to prepare you for your labour and the first precious few days with your newborn baby.
The thought of giving birth can be quite daunting, particularly if it is your first baby. To be able to go into your birth with an idea of what to expect and also what potential questions to ask and to make sure you have a relaxed and stress-free experience is invaluable.
Antenatal classes typically cover a wide range of topics. For example, they can include discussions about:
- The first signs of labour
- What to expect from your labour
- Relaxation techniques to use during your labour
- How your partner can help during your labour
- Pain relief options
- What happens if you require a caesarean section
- The stages of labour
- What happens after your baby is born
- Your first few days with baby
- What to pack in your hospital bag for you, baby and partner.
By giving you information about all scenarios, you are in the best position to make informed decisions before, during and after your baby is born.
How, Where and When are the Antenatal Sessions Delivered?
Some organisations run a series of weekly classes, others will have one-day workshops. Dads to be are often very much encouraged to attend so they are fully prepared for the birth and caring for a newborn so you will want to find dates and times that fit in for him too.
Some providers offer private classes, so do ask class providers if this is something you might be interested in. NHS classes often take place in the hospital where you hope to deliver your baby whereas private providers hold classes in a local community venue.
When is the Right Time to Attend an Antenatal Class?
Typically most antenatal classes start around 8-10 weeks before your baby is due when you are around 30-32 weeks pregnant. Week by Week Pregnancy Guide: NHS
Who Leads an Antenatal Class and What Qualifications Do They Have?
Many classes are run by midwives but this is not the case for every class. Do ask about the qualifications of the person who will be delivering the training. The Federation of Antenatal Educators (FEDANT) regulates Antenatal Educators, Breastfeeding Counsellors and Doulas in England, so do check if your course provider is registered with this organisation.
How to Choose which Antenatal Course is Right for You?
Each mum-to-be is at different life stages so you will want to find the right type of course which fits in with you.
- Are you more focused on the actual birth itself, or do you want to know about the early days of parenthood?
- Is it important that you discuss your own emotional wellbeing as well as practical tips for feeding and caring for your new baby?
- Some antenatal providers focus on particular therapies or exercises, such as hypnobirthing or pregnancy yoga. Are these of interest to you?
All course providers will be able to share the details of their course content so you can compare different approaches. If you are already a parent, you may want a course that is more tailored for you, and one that includes supporting your toddler as they become a sibling. If you are expecting twins or triplets, ask if the provider will cover multiple births in as much detail as you need.
Who Else Will Attend the Antenatal Classes?
One of the benefits of attending an antenatal class is to meet other parents going to similar experiences. For many people getting to know other couples in the same situation as them is one of the most beneficial aspects of attending antenatal classes. Many make friendships that start in the antenatal classes and develop as the children grow up, go to school and beyond. Find out about typical group sizes and if there is any ongoing support after your baby has arrived.
Find Out About Other Parents’ Experiences
To help find out more about an antenatal class, find out if there are any reviews from other couples who have been on the course. Reviews are a good way to get an insight into how the courses help parents prepare for birth and beyond.
Antenatal Care from Little Buds
At Newborn Art by SJ Baldock, we work with several providers of antenatal education. We asked Jayne James and Jo Collins of Little Buds to talk to us about the benefits of high-quality antenatal education. They commented: “
“Our aim at Little Buds is to empower mums and dads to be to have the best possible experience whilst forming potentially life-long friendships which will enrich their parenting journey. We want classes to be friendly and relaxed. Our client feedback tells us that couples value the support of other parents to be, the reunion once all the babies have arrived is very popular.
We believe that antenatal education should be delivered by experts in the field and midwives are of course just that. We are FEDANT registered practising midwives with over 38 years of midwifery experience and 8 children between the two of us. We both have vast experience of midwifery in both hospital and community settings. We truly believe that receiving a good antenatal education can enhance your birth experience and provide a positive start to your parenting years.”
For more information about Little Buds, you can visit their website here.
It is important to find the right antenatal class that works for you. However you choose your antenatal classes, we hope you enjoy attending a class. Classes can be a great support to you as new parents and will help you to feel as prepared as possible as you get ready for the birth of your baby.
If you would like to capture your maternity experience forever, then why not have your own Maternity Photography Experience and create memories to treasure. Click here for information about our maternity experience.