Antenatal classes

By Louise, The Honest Midwife

Have you reached the halfway point in your pregnancy yet? For some it may have felt like a bit of a marathon and for others, the past 20 weeks may 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, we will be just fine. You will find lots of helpful articles right here at HiPP UK, from what to pack in your hospital bag to top tips on bathing 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 should be delivered by someone with a wealth of experience in childbirth.

A good antenatal course will cover: labour and 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 recognise when you are tense or anxious. Using deep relaxation techniques and positive thoughts can help keep you and your partner nice and relaxed throughout your labour and 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 great 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 myself - otherwise known as @thehonestmidwife.