Antenatal classes prepare expectant mothers and their partners for the birth process. These classes are very useful as they provide information on what to expect during and after the baby’s birth. After enrolling for an antenatal class, it is only normal to wonder what you take when going for one.
What Do You Need To Take To Antenatal Classes?
Most of the time you don’t need to take anything to an antenatal class unless your instructor instructs you to. Most times, the classes involve physical demonstration, so you might only need to come with a partner throughout this duration. If you do need materials, it might only involve things like feeding bottles, towels, and a few instruments to aid the demonstration.
Expectant mothers, sometimes, might not understand how important these classes are. Though they are now common, some still find them overrated, thus, unimportant. However, this post shall elaborate on antenatal classes and all you should know about participating in one.
What Are Antenatal Classes?
Antenatal classes often called birth or parenting classes, are instructional classes that prepare mothers for labor, birth, the breastfeeding process, and the care of a newborn baby. It teaches what happens at every stage of the pregnancy, how your body changes, what you ought to feel, and what you should consider alarming. Antenatal classes are also a way to gain confidence and feel relaxed about the changes you’ll expect as a new parent.
Here, you’ll also meet other expectant parents who you can interact with, make friends, and also learn from. It places in the same room as others in the same condition where they exchange experiences, giving you better insight on what to expect from pregnancy and birth.
Antenatal classes are also forums for discussion, where you ask specific questions about your current condition and get answers, swifter than you’ll probably find on any platform.
Most of these courses have a one to two-hour class weekly and could run for several weeks. These classes are designed to accommodate busy schedules, so they do not disturb your work or other activities. A lot of the time there are also classes in the evening.
Topics You’ll Learn about at Antenatal Classes
Antenatal classes cover several topics on pregnancy and childbirth. First, you learn how to stay healthy during pregnancy. This includes the exercises you should do to keep you and the baby fit.
It teaches you about labor, the signs, symptoms, the pain to expect. It explains the different stages of this process and when you ought to rush to the hospital. Relaxation and breathing exercises during labor fall into this category.
You also learn about birthing positions, how your baby should be born, and what happens when the baby is not in the right position. It teaches you about childbirth, what to expect during childbirth, and how to handle the process.
Antenatal classes give insight on how to care for and breastfeed a child, and also the psychological changes that come with being a parent.
Types of Antenatal Classes
There are different antenatal classes, and you can choose to attend over one of them. Early pregnancy antenatal classes are available for mothers, especially one having a child for the first time.
There are Lamaze classes that specify in teaching breathing techniques, support, and relaxation methods. Active birth and Calm birth are classes where parents learn only about birthing techniques and childbirth education programs.
Also available are aqua antenatal classes that deal with water, antenatal yoga, and hypnobirthing classes. Some programs offer a combination of almost all. Aside from expectant mothers, some antenatal classes focus on the expectant fathers, and how to handle fatherhood.
When Should I Enroll for Antenatal Classes?
There are early antenatal classes suitable for you when you’re 8 to 10 weeks into your pregnancy. But, it is ideal to enroll in these classes when you’re about 17 to 20 weeks, which is over halfway into your pregnancy. Antenatal classes usually end before 36 weeks. However, you stop the classes earlier if you’re expecting over one child.
What Are the Importance of Antenatal Classes?
Antenatal classes have several benefits for both mothers and their partners
It Teaches You of the Best Pregnancy Nutrition
When you are pregnant, there are certain foods that you should avoid eating and there are foods that you should be eating. A good antenatal class will list out these foods and explain why they are good or bad to eat when pregnant. They’ll also give a recommendation for the best foods for consumption.
You’ll also learn about prenatal vitamins, which are also important to the health of your unborn child. Even if you consume a well-balanced diet, you’ll probably want additional vitamins because your body is working harder than usual. An antenatal class instructor will recommend the best vitamin-filled foods to consume.
It Provides a Forum To Meet Other Parents
The joy of being pregnant is enhanced even further when you meet other expectant parents. The workshops not only provide friendly support but also educate you on the finer points of dealing with pregnancy. This includes your child is developing, what to expect when you give birth, and how to provide the best possible care for you and your baby right after birth.
It Helps Partners
Your partner might not fully comprehend the implications of pregnancy and what it entails. Expectant fathers can benefit from antenatal care since it can educate them on what they can do to help. It is possible for some aspiring fathers that feel helpless to feel better and understand their responsibilities.
Many expectant parents are confused about the overall picture at the beginning of their pregnancy, but a knowledgeable prenatal care practitioner may assist them with this. In addition to being enjoyable and exciting, pregnancy can also be challenging and demanding. Antenatal care helps you deal with these challenges while overcoming your fears.
Online Antenatal Classes
Some online antenatal classes are on the internet and suits parents who prefer to stay in the comfort of their home. It is a suitable option for those who hate public places or are allergic to certain outdoor circumstances. Though helpful, it takes away the benefits of learning from several parents and forming new allegiances.
If you’re considering an online class, ensure that they operate within your jurisdiction as they give more accurate information that’ll suit your living environment. Aside from this, ensure they are trustworthy, experienced, and good at what they do.
How Much Do Antenatal Classes Cost?
Antenatal costs vary from state to state, and from center to center. The cost also depends on the person managing them. Some hospitals offer antenatal classes free of charge while others could tag it for over $500.
How Do I Find Antenatal Classes in My Area?
Look for workshops classes from the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) or ask your midwife, health visitor, or doctor about available antenatal classes. You could also try a simple google search like: ”Antenatal Classes in (city you live in)”.
While choosing a venue, ensure it is not too far from your area of residence. You must also be sure that the practitioner is knowledgeable, capable of passing knowledge you should know. Also, take advantage of mother workshops available in your area as this provides an opportunity to meet other expectant mothers.
Do I Need to Attend Antenatal Class after My First Child?
First-time mothers aren’t the only ones who benefit from prenatal programs. If you’re having another child, you might want to consider going again. When you plan to give birth differently this time around, such as after having had a cesarean section the prior time, these classes are extremely important. If you have a long time between pregnancies, taking lessons may be beneficial to your health.
Besides, these courses change every time with new developments sprouting every day. To avoid making a mistake, attend antenatal classes for every birth.
In addition to antenatal programs, which you attend during your pregnancy, there are workshops specifically for new parents.
Depending on where you live, your local government or health trust may offer parent education programs. Some will be free, while others may require payment. These seminars are helpful to parents with no prior knowledge of childcare.
The programs are not restricted to mothers alone. Fathers, caregivers, intending parents, and nurses should also take part in such programs. It teaches several things you should know about parenting and child health.
You’ll learn the basics of handling a newborn child, the do’s and dont’s, how to feed, care and lay your baby. It also gives information on how you should take care of your health after birth, including what to and what not to eat.
To find these programs, you could utilize the internet or speak to an experienced health care representative. These programs are also accessible online, which saves you the stress of a physical class.