What do you learn in antenatal class?

What do you learn in antenatal class? When I was pregnant the first time, I decided at around 36 weeks that I should probably go to an antenatal class.

The reason I had put it off for so long (other than forgetting) is that: you know how in the movies the parents-to-be attending the classes are always simulating the birth process with guttural heaving noises? – Well I was so NOT going to partake in anything that humiliating. I figured that I’d wing the breathing bit…

…but then I thought I’d better go. Mainly because I kind of needed to know what to do when I went into labour – when to go to the hospital and what to do about the whole contraction thing (after all).

So we went. And class was super helpful – and only lasted one afternoon (score!). And the breathing bit only took about 5 minutes and I wasn’t lying on my back pretending to be in the throes of labour. (What I will say is when labour is for real, your body seems to take over and the breathing bit happens naturally.)

For all the procrastinating mums-to-be who know they should but don’t really want to, here are the kind of things that will be talked about in your antenatal class (according to the NHS):

  • health in pregnancy, including a healthy diet.
  • exercises to keep you fit and active during pregnancy.
  • what happens during labour and birth.
  • coping with labour and information about different types of pain relief.
  • how to help yourself during labour and birth.
  • relaxation techniques.
  • information about different kinds of birth and interventions, such as ventouse or forceps delivery.
  • caring for your baby, including feeding.
  • your health after the birth.
  • ‘refresher classes’ for those who’ve already had a baby.
  • emotions and feelings during pregnancy, birth and after.

The info that I found the most useful was the stuff about the actual birth – what to do, pain relief options, what happens if you need an intervention… and all that jazz.

Dear mums-to-be, there is no need to be afraid of antenatal class – movies usually exaggerate for effect.