Antenatal classes

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

Yay! You are over half way! For some it may have felt like a bit of a marathon and for others the past 20 weeks have flown by. Whichever camp you are in, your mind may now be turning to the safe arrival of your baby and the weeks that are ahead.

A big question you may have on your mind is about Antenatal Classes. You may have heard them being mentioned but have no idea what they actually are. You may be thinking, “Are antenatal classes really necessary?”

Firstly, you do not have to attend antenatal classes. Some of us are quite confident that “What will be, will be” and that with the support of friends and family you will be just fine. You will find lots of really helpful articles right here at HiPP UK, from what to pack in your bag to top tips for to how and when to bath your baby. So, if classes aren’t for you, grab yourself a cuppa and have a read through our many expert articles.

The aim of any antenatal class should be to bring you evidence based information in a non-biased way and be delivered by someone with a wealth of experience of all the variety that childbirth can present.

A good antenatal course will cover: labour & birth, infant feeding and practical parenting.

Try to find classes that will cover all eventualities. It would be lovely to think that everyone will have a straightforward labour and birth, however in the UK over 20% of babies are born by caesarean section, so it is good to find a class that will cover more complex experiences and not just the dream.

Hypnobirthing, for example is a great addition to your classes as it is a lovely way to get your head in the game and can really help you to recognise when you are tense or anxious. Using deep relaxation and positive thoughts can really help to keep you and your partner nice and relaxed throughout your labour and in addition will keep you calm if you have any bumps in the road.

Speaking of birth partners! Being a birth partner can be a daunting experience and as such should be acknowledged and supported in your classes. How partners can help and support during labour and birth can really help to replace anxiety with confidence in the weeks leading up to the big day. This should form a key element of your chosen course.

And, finally the big question: How to feed your baby! How you choose to feed your baby can be a complex decision - torn between what you think people want or think you should do and what you want to do. Infant feeding classes should offer education on both formula and breastfeeding and support you to make the right decision for you and your family. Understanding the physiology of breastfeeding and milk production can be a really good start to breastfeeding and a must within your classes so ask beforehand exactly what is covered.

If you would like to take your classes from home, in your PJs, why not check out classes run by our very own Midwife, Louise - otherwise known as @thehonestmidwife you will be sure that you are prepared for anything and everything.