Antenatal classes: do they prepare you for the birth of your baby?

15 Apr

Attending antenatal classes as a pregnant mum-to-be

You thought pregnancy was the tough bit! Swollen ankles, rib pain, heartburn, morning sickness…you eagerly attended your antenatal classes to meet other mums, lovingly and painstakingly planned your birth plan, and got excited bringing your partner to class as it was a chance to involve him in your pregnancy.

Fast forward a few months…baby has arrived and you are so comatose you can’t even have a conversation with your partner.  When you are home with the baby all day, it feels like nothing is getting accomplished save for endless loads of laundry, many changed nappies, feeding…then it all starts all over again.  Did your antenatal class actually prepare you for the birth of your baby?

antenatl classes vs postnatal courses

Here are some of our thoughts on what you can gain from antenatal classes and also what you might find a bit of a let-down.

Benefits of antenatal classes:

– They are a great way of meeting other like-minded mums who are all excited for their impending arrivals.  The collective shared experience makes it even more special.

– Knowledge is power.  Going into a very unknown situation that you are apprehensive about, would be much much worse without being prepared.  Read here for more about what you might learn at an antenatal class.

– Dads often get involved in antenatal classes; this is a great way of including them in the bonding process, as they may feel left out as they are not actually carrying the baby.

Abbie, mum of one, says “For me my NCT classes gave me a network of friends who had the same fears and excitement as me with their baby due to arrive. It made the last trimester of my pregnancy much more bearable!”

antenatal classes what do you learn

Drawbacks of antenatal classes:

– Mums-to-be go in with high hopes as to how their birth is going to pan out.  It often doesn’t go according to plan, the disappointment can be crushing.

– A lot of mums who you may have met move away after having a baby.  That can leave you with a much smaller network of friendly mums to ‘hang-out’ with post baby.

– If you don’t do NHS classes, it can be quite expensive opting for private classes.

– A lot of mums feel pressurized to breastfeed as a result of ‘peer pressure’ from others in their antenatal group.  This can lead to feelings of deep guilt if breastfeeding doesn’t work out, despite giving it a good go.

– Talk of natural births might sway you one way when you were actually thinking of opting for pain relief.  Pregnancy is an emotional time as well, and mums might not be able to make individualised choices when in a group situation.  See this Telegraph article which suggests that mums are to blame when it comes to guilt and pressure, not the antenatal classes themselves!

Bump and Baby Club point out as well, “From our research, people’s experiences seem to depend a lot on who their antenatal teacher was.” Good point!

At Nurturing Mums we think that antenatal classes are definitely worth going to; however, we think you should prepare yourself for a birth that may not go according to plan.  Embrace all of the positives and then when reality hits and your husband or partner goes back to work in those first few weeks, get yourself signed up to a Nurturing Mums course where you will expand on your knowledge.  Too many mums lack confidence; we will give it to you in abundance!  Plus you will meet loads of new mummy friends and have fun too – give yourself a chance to love motherhood and your new role. 

Tell us your thoughts about your antenatal classes – which ones did you try and how did you benefit from them?

Mums who have done antenatal classes are welcome to come to our Nurturing Mums postnatal courses – gain double the benefit and become even more confident in raising your baby. Sign up today!

Nurturing Mums postnatal classes



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