If you’re currently expecting a baby, you may be wondering about ante natal classes; exactly what they are and whether they’re a good idea for you. While ante natal classes are by no means compulsory, there are certainly a lot of benefits to taking them. We’ll examine the sorts of things that are covered on such classes and look at how they can help you both during pregnancy and childbirth, and beyond.
What Exactly is an Ante Natal Class?
A common misconception is that ante natal classes just teach you how to breathe during labour. In fact, they cover a multitude of topics, which may include:
- Information about pregnancy, labour and birth (including different types of delivery).
- Writing a birth plan.
- Pain relief options available to you.
- Practical skills, such as positions, breathing, massage and comfort during labour.
- The first few days with your baby.
- Feeding your newborn.
- Question and answer sessions with medical professionals, such as midwives.
Why Should I Take an Ante Natal Class?
- The knowledge you will gain will help you make your own choices about the kind of birth you want, and help you put them into a birth plan. Having a written plan will help ensure your wishes are taken into account during labour, and help you to feel more relaxed, knowing that the plan is in place.
- Many women on ante natal classes end up making friends through the group, and continuing to be friends after the babies are born. It’s great to meet other people in the area that you can bounce ideas off, or meet for playdates, as your little ones grow up.
- Postpartum, or postnatal, depression is thought to affect around 10% of new mothers and can become serious if the early signs are not spotted and addressed. Ante natal classes often include information on the symptoms of postpartum depression, equipping moms with invaluable knowledge which could help them flag up the problem quickly, should they be affected.
- You might think you can read everything you need to know in books or on the internet and, while you can indeed read a lot, it’s always better to learn directly from a professional, where you can ask questions on things you don’t understand. You can also be sure that the information you are learning will be correct.
- Even if you’re feeling confident and clued up, your partner might be nervous and attending a class together could help you both get on the same page knowledge and confidence wise, and help your partner understand more about how they can assist during the birth. You will feel more confident, too, because the class can cement and add to your own knowledge. There’s no such thing as being too prepared when it comes to childbirth!
How Can I Find Classes in my Area?
Ask your midwife about classes in your local area. It’s never too early to enquire as some busy classes have waiting lists.