Part of your antenatal care will include antenatal classes in preparation for the labour, delivery and life at home with the baby. When I first fell pregnant I asked my midwife about availability of these classes on the NHS as there are many stories of NHS trusts cutting back and turning women away or not even offering them in the first place. My midwife said that in Welwyn they never turn away pregnant women but their classes may be very full so they aren’t as small and intimate as NCT run classes. I did look into NCT antenatal classes but if I could get the same information for free I was willing to wait.
I have just started my antenatal classes at 36 weeks which I think is a little too late, when I went to the class held at Applecroft school I was the only one that was expecting within a month, all the other ladies were due later than me. It is run by a Midwife and Health Visitor who were both friendly, the only downside is the room is a little small and packed with the worst chairs to sit on for the next few hours.
I was a little disappointed when the midwife told everyone to refrain from buying anything just yet as she would tell you what was non-essential in the weeks to come. Being the furthest ahead I had already purchased everything so I dread what she will say is a waste of money.
I always thought that antenatal classes meant that you sit on the floor surrounded by comfortable pillows and your partner supports you while you learn breathing methods and different positions for labour. They are nothing like this, instead they tell you about the three stages of labour and what to expect. They tell about the signs that you may be going into labour and a lot of scenarios where you discuss as a group.
There were a few things I learnt such as when to call up the hospital and how long you should wait until you come in but in general you can find out all this in the book that was given to you at your booking in appointment when you first have contact with a midwife. I would advise all people who are going to do a little reading as you may feel left out and not know anything when you attend but then again the classes are there to teach you.
I thoroughly recommend your partner being there as I do think it’s important that he be a part of it, knowing all the signs for labour and what to do will come in handy when you are not able to talk because the contractions are so painful. It’s also good that the men are educated in the stages of labour and what happens after.