8 Things You Need to Know About Antenatal Classes

I have little to no experience with babies, children, pregnancy… you name it.

I hadn’t even changed a diaper before I became pregnant so it’s safe to say I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. For this reason I thought it would be extremely important that I attend antenatal classes, that way I had no doubt I would be empowered with the knowledge to survive the rest of my pregnancy, to cope with the birth itself, and to raise the little human growing inside me.

I was really unsure of what I was getting myself into and it prompted me to write a list for others so that they could get an idea on what to expect. Here are 8 things I think every pregnant women should know about antenatal classes.

1. IT’S BEST TO BOOK EARLY

Our midwife was quick to let us know that the sooner you book your antenatal class, the better – and she was right on the mark with this one. It’s surprising how quickly they book out, especially when you’re having a baby around the months of December, January and February.

Letting my inner control freak shine, I booked mine way in advance – I literally booked my antenatal class in August. Yep…

2. IT MAY COST YOU TO ATTEND ANTENATAL CLASSES

Classes used to be free however my understanding nowadays is that you need to pay for most classes. Personally I was totally fine with paying – if I was going to learn about pregnancy, labour, and how to care for my baby then hey, I’m happy to pay for that knowledge!

There were a few classes to choose from in our area of Auckland. The total cost for the class we chose was $150 and we were able to choose from two course durations;
4 week courses:   6—9pm    Wednesdays
2 week courses:   9—3pm    Saturdays

We decided to smash it out and go with the Saturday option and I’m really glad we did as I think a weekly course over four weeks would have been too much for me personally. I also found later into my pregnancy that I become more tired and I would go to bed much earlier – something to keep in mind for Mum’s who are yet to book.

3. WANT AN IDEA ON WHAT TOPICS WILL BE COVERED?

Although I would hope that most classes cover off the general basis for pregnancy, birth and the first week of having a newborn baby, classes may differ in the content they provide.
The topics that we were taught were;

  • The labour phases
  • Pain relief and pain management
  • Turning a baby
  • Birthing the placenta
  • Skin to skin contact
  • C-sections
  • The first three days with a newborn and what to expect
  • Post natal depression
  • Safe sleeping, SIDS and SUDI
  • Breastfeeding
  • Tummy time
  • Bathing
  • Clothing
  • Bedding

4. YOU MAY NOT REMEMBER WHAT YOU LEARNT

I have a shocking memory so I wrote almost everything down in a notebook in the hopes it would help cement what we were taught. When you’re pregnant you have enough on your mind as it is and that’s not taking into account the endless advice and information that you become inundated with. In just over a month I could hardly remember a thing! In the end that wasn’t a problem as things changed and I decided to form my own opinion and do some research, which brings me to my next point…

5. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH

Antenatal classes can be very opinionated, depending on the person running the class. It’s easy to see how people may feel that what they were taught was “exactly what they needed to do”, when in reality we are all different and need to make our mind up on what we feel works best for our us and our new baby.

Don’t be scare mongered into doing something that doesn’t suit you. For example in our class we were taught not to swaddle a baby when they were sleeping. Personally I didn’t agree with that but it did make me question myself – in the end my baby loves being swaddled, it helps her to sleep and without swaddling she wakes herself up very easily. Trust your own instincts! ?

6. DON’T EXPECT YOUR PARTNER TO ENJOY THE CLASSES

I literally had to drag my husband to these classes. We opted for the weekend sessions from 9am to 3pm on a Saturday and it was during the middle of summer which made things even worse – hubby was missing out on prime fishing weather! And to top it out he missed out on a stag weekend away because I had booked the classes super early and everything was paid for – I felt terrible!

Surprisingly he ended up being a good sport and he brought a great sense of humour and light heartedness to the class, but that doesn’t mean he would happily do it all over again!

7. YOU MAY FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE

This comes in too ways – uncomfortable in the sense of your pregnant, you have to sit a long time and if it’s summer it can be unbearably hot… and uncomfortable as in some of the things you talk about can be a little forth coming but just remember everyone in the class is in the same boat as you!

If you are worried about sitting for a long period of time you can always take a swiss ball if it helps, I know a lady in our class did that ?

8. IF YOU’RE LUCKY YOU MAY END UP WITH A GREAT COFFEE GROUP

It’s always handy to meet people that are going through a pregnancy and are due to give birth around the same time as yourself. I was lucky that most of our group (approximately 9 couples) were around our age which made it easier to form friendships and want to stay in touch.

About four or five of us have stayed in touch and formed a coffee group and they are a great bunch of ladies ?

Hopefully this post gives you a heads up on what you may expect at your antenatal class. Don’t worry too much and just take everything with a grain of salt – just remember at the end of the day things change (especially birth plans!) and at the end of the day as long as you have a healthy baby after all of this that’s all that matters ?

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kylie is a survivor. She’s endured events that no-one should have to experience. That’s why she wants to share her story; to help other women live beyond their pain so that they too can take control of their life, and live the life they deserve.

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