Birth is not only about making babies. Birth is about making mothers - strong, competent, capable mothers who trust themselves and know their inner strength.”
Barbara Katz Rothman
When you decide to visit a foreign country, you undertake a great deal of planning. You make sure you have knowledge of the local customs and currency; you study maps to ensure you won’t get hopelessly lost and overwhelmed – because you know that knowledge is power. Similarly, when entering the complex new world of parenthood, knowing what to expect will instil you with confidence and banish unnecessary fears. Antenatal classes are an important part of a stress-free pregnancy and labour – and it’s not just first-time parents who benefit, those who have been down this road before may be surprised at how valuable a refresher course can be.
There are so many options available when it comes to childbirth and becoming informed will allow you and your partner to make choices that are ideally suited to your needs. Antenatal classes will alleviate your fears and ensure that you know what to expect during birth and the early days with your newborn. Courses vary from place to place, with most covering topics such as birthing options (natural versus Caesarean), pain relief options, breastfeeding, preparing for parenthood, nutrition, breathing techniques and massage skills.
It is important for dads and birth-partners to attend antenatal classes in order to be truly involved in the pregnancy and prepare for what lies ahead. They will gain a clear understanding of what is expected of them and how important their role is during the various stages of pregnancy, labour and parenting. At this incredibly special and unique time of your lives, truly sharing the experience as a couple will have a wonderfully positive effect on forming a close family bond. Another fantastic spin-off of antenatal classes is the opportunity to meet and learn from other parents-to-be.
Choose an antenatal class that is right for you – ask plenty of questions before you sign up:
- Is the person conducting the course adequately qualified?
- Is your partner included?
- Are the educator’s ideals for labour in keeping with your own?
- Is the educator a parent?
- Will you receive practical instruction on breathing and relaxation techniques, labour positions and massage?
- Will you be informed about the physical and emotional changes you could expect after the birth and in early parenthood?
- Are all birthing options covered in the course?
- What is the cost of the classes?