Why are antenatal classes so important?

Being the world’s worst procrastinator (and I really wish I was exaggerating), I went to an antenatal class only a couple of weeks before my baby arrived in this world.

And the only thing that made me go was that I thought it might be a good idea to know what was going to happen when I was in labour – like when was I supposed to go to the hospital; I’d heard stories from too  many friends about being sent home until contractions were closer together.

‘Closer together’ as in ten minutes or thirty seconds? – I thought it would be good for me to find out.

So I went to class, learnt what to do and applied at least fifty per cent of it when the time came. Luckily it all turned out alright. Not once but twice. What can I say; you live, you learn.

That said, I am sure that there are loads of expectant mums who are far more organised and responsible than I when it comes to being prepared for a baby. If this is you, you might want to do the antenatal class thing in good time.

Why are antenatal classes so important? They are designed to prepare you for birth and what comes immediately after. The NHS lists the topics covered in antenatal classes as follows:

  • health in pregnancy, including a healthy diet.
  • exercises to keep you fit and active during pregnancy and help you during labour.
  • 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.
  • how to give birth without any intervention (such as ventouse or forceps delivery) if that’s what you want.
  • information on different kinds of birth and interventions.
  • 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.

As you may be able to tell, much of the info offered in the classes would be good to know more than a couple of weeks before you actually have your baby.

You might be able to attend introductory classes on baby care early in pregnancy, but most antenatal classes start around 8-10 weeks before your baby is due. The earlier, the better I imagine.

To find out more about antenatal classes, visit the NHS.uk.