First Trimester

Why you should attend Antenatal Classes?

Why you should attend Antenatal Classes?
Published : February 14 , 2018
Latest Update : June 01 , 2022
Nicky Langley is a mother of four and a professional Doula, Hypnobirthing teacher and Breastfeeding Supporter. She has been living in Dubai... more

The term Antenatal Education covers a variety of subjects, primarily aimed at promoting the health and well-being of mums, dads, and babies.  This education is obtained during the antenatal period, i.e. before the baby is born.  The aim is to educate and therefore empower parents, to give them the information necessary for them make informed decisions about the way they would like their pregnancy, labor and birth to proceed.

Parents today have a wealth of material available to them through the internet, but it is important to access the “right” information. Unfortunately, it is the case that there is a lot of misleading and incorrect information available and it is important to avoid this as some of the advice is unhelpful at best and dangerous at worst! So, always make sure to look for eligible sources when looking for such information.

Forms of Antenatal Education:

It is a good idea for parents to seek out formal antenatal classes, either the more traditional hospital classes or others such as hypnobirthing classes.  Traditional classes often tend to place more emphasis on the basics of pregnancy and labor, giving information about interventions and pain relief.  These can sometimes promote fear in parents which can then lead on to deep worries about labor and birth which is something we really want to try and avoid!

I teach The Wise Hippo Birthing Programme, a British hypnobirthing programme that focuses on the positives in pregnancy teaches some wonderful tools for breathing, relaxation, and distraction, and covers basic antenatal subjects such as the three stages of labor, the physical effects of hormones etc. I can highly recommend this form of Antenatal Education which brings with it a positive and confident expectation of the birth process, seeing birth as a normal, natural event which of course it is!

So, what are the benefits of Antenatal Education and Classes?

  1. Parents who are informed tend to be more confident to ask questions, something that should be encouraged!

     Always remember this is YOUR pregnancy, labor and birth, you DO have a say and it is right that you should be part of any decision-making process. Occasionally, situations may arise that require you as parents to make decisions (such as consenting to medical inductions), if you understand the situation and options available to you it is more likely that you will feel good about any decision you make. This, in turn, tends to lead on to a better birthing experience and subsequent breastfeeding journey.
  1. Antenatal Education ensures that parents are informed and confident, to go into labor and birth with these feelings tends to lead to a better experience all around.

     As a doula, attending many births I cannot express how important this education is. I constantly find that the mums I have taught cope well with labor and birth and see it as a good, positive experience.
  1. Another important benefit of attending group antenatal classes is the social interaction. 

    Mums and Dads can meet other expectant parents, people in the same situation with similar concerns and questions. It can be very reassuring to talk things over with new friends and I found that lasting friendships are often made during these antenatal classes.

That said, I would like to recommend the following sources that I usually encourage my clients to read to have a better outlook on birth and labor:

  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (Ina May Gaskin)

  • Spiritual Midwifery (Ina May Gaskin)

  • Childbirth without Fear (Grantly Dick-Read)

  • Active Birth: The New Approach to Giving Birth Naturally (Janet Balaskas)

  • The Gentle Birth Method (Dr. Gowri Motha)

  • Gentle Birth Gentle Mothering (Dr. Sarah Buckley)

  • Stand and Deliver! And other Brilliant Ways to Give Birth (Emma Mahony)

Go and get educated!


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