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Has anyone given birth without going to any antenatal classes?

(35 Posts)
HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 12:25:57

I'm planning on a vbac for dc2 next month... last time I was pg I didn't go to the last antenatal class in my course as it was the birth one and I already knew then that I was going to have to have a cs (yeah, I know, I'm dumb... what about future babies?)

Anyway, dc2 due in 7 weeks... I've got an antanatal class this saturday which runs from 10am to 2.30pm, but we've only just moved house and we have an absolute ton of stuff to do. Would it be really silly to miss it? Esp as I've never been in labour (but I've read lots of labour threads on here )

BertieBotts Thu 05-Nov-09 12:48:55

Thousands of women have given birth without classes - but I did find mine really helpful and reassuring. I'd make time to go if you can. At 33 weeks everyone else should be doing the work for you anyway!

TheMightyToosh Thu 05-Nov-09 12:52:45

I only went to one, it was a similar saturday/whole day affair that included a tour of the ward. The tour was the only reason we went really, but we did find that part and the talk about pain relief useful.

I would certainly go and see the place if you haven't already, so you know what to do on the day, what to expect when you get there, etc - it might be a different part of the ward than your C-section was.

Apart from that, I found preg yoga most helpful for staying calm and breathing exercises.

HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 12:53:34

Ha BertieBotts... chance would be a fine thing!!! Problem is, even if I could persuade dh to sort through his crap important documents and stuff, he really ought to come along too. So neither of us would get anything done that day.

I'm being totally dim of course, because billions of women give birth without being told how to breathe! But I'm totally torn on this... I feel if it's there I should take it, esp as I'm going for a vbac (ie not a routine birth) but arrrgghhhhh! There's so much to doooooo!

HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 12:59:59

TheMightyToosh... I had my section in a different hospital so apart from a couple of ante natal appts I haven't really been to our new hospital. I have been to the labour ward before though (with a friend!) so I know where it is. Do you think not having had a baby there makes it even more of a reason to go?

longwayaway Thu 05-Nov-09 13:30:57

Most hospitals have cancelled their ward tours due to swine flu fears, so that might be a moot point. Worth checking, anyway.

slushy06 Thu 05-Nov-09 13:32:59

I have not been to any but I had two normal births so v different if you can I would go as yours is a vbac and it might help put your mind at rest.

TheMightyToosh Thu 05-Nov-09 13:36:17

Personally I would go, just so that in the throws of labour (which might take hours but equally might happen very quickly!) you are not worrying about what the procedure is at this new place.

They will tell you what signs to look for, when to ring/go in (and when not to - or they will send you home!).

You will also know what is available in the rooms and what you are allowed to take in. E.g. I had wanted to take music, but we weren't allowed to take any mains electrical equipment, so had to take batteries.

Also they will tell you the policy on DH - is he allowed to stay overnight/what time he has to leave, is there somewhere for him to sleep if you give birth at an awkward time, or do you need to take a blanket for him etc etc.

Plus the one thing that will be very different between this and the C-section is the pain relief that is available. It's important to know that there are time limits on what you can have - e.g. you might have to pre-order an epidural if you think you might want one (have heard stories of it being too late or no anaesthetist being available). Plus don't you want to know if they have birthing balls/pools, a bath, tea/coffee, radio, etc there for you to use?

Labour can be pretty testing even at the best of times, so the last thing you need is to not know the drill for this hospital and end up flapping around not knowing what you're meant to be doing (or worse, your DH flapping about not knowing what HE is supposed to be doing, and you having to sort HIM out when you are trying to breathe!!).

The way I see it is - the more informed you are, the less stress you will be under and the easier things will be. The paperwork can wait for one day, surely, just for your own piece of mind? You might get there and find they tell you nothing you didn't already know, but at least you will know that you have all the information, instead of how it is now, where you really don't know one way or the other.

BunnyLebowski Thu 05-Nov-09 13:36:55

Yes. me.

I just didn't see any reason to go to classes. Any information I needed I had in books and could find through the magic of google.

Didn't go for a tour of the hopspital either as I planned a home birth.

Will do it the same way next time.

Bramshott Thu 05-Nov-09 13:44:45

Yes, twice.

Dlamis Thu 05-Nov-09 13:49:20

I had a VBAC birth with ds2 without any Ante-Natal classes also in a different hospital from ds1.

Like you I knew quite early on with ds1 that I'd have to have a section so never bothered attending classes.

With ds2 I didn't bother, partly due to hassle of finding a babysitter for ds1, partly cos I didn't have time anyway as he arrived early. However I was in hospital for a week before he arrived so had had a tour and I do think it helped that i knew where i was going and what was where iyswim.

As far as the actual birth went, I don't think AN classes would have helped much tbh. I did alot of reading up beforehand though and found this book really useful.

BunnyLebowski Thu 05-Nov-09 13:52:25

Second your recommendation of that book Dlamis.

I consider Ina May my unofficial birth coach! She helped me a lot.

I also loved Nicky Wesson but that one's more specific to home birth.

Grendle Thu 05-Nov-09 14:13:11

The person I know who had the best first time hospital birth experience did no classes, just read a bit. She turned up 8cm and had a drug-free water birth. 4 out of the 5 of us in my antenatal class really wanted that type of experience, but the classes didn't help us get anywhere near it sad, at least not first time.

Sometimes ignorance might be bliss...

HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 14:23:24

Thanks for the book recommendation Dlamis!

I do appreciate many of your points Toosh... to be honest I'm not entirely sure that dh won't flap ridiculously anyway He's actually quite terrified of it, more than I am. I think not doing will be his way of avoiding it all until it's real iyswim which is really silly. I have attended a vbac class with a mw when she ran through the hospital's proceedures etc, and I've got a meeting with a consultant in a couple of weeks where hopefully I can further ask anything I'm unsure of.

I did go to most of my antenatal classes last time, but I just missed the last one, which was the vital one, all about labour and birth positions. I think I'm pretty happy about different pain relief options, but as you say, the hospital may have a different policy regarding epidurals etc.

hairygodmother Thu 05-Nov-09 14:23:45

I was in similar sit to you - no antenatal classes first time round, was living abroad and they didn't do them plus ended up having a c-section anyway. Baby no 2 - back in this country, planning vbac. I went to one of our antenatal classes, they were run locally by the midwives (there were two classes - first one about labour etc, second one about how to look after baby, which we didn't bother going to, ha!! as if we were experts ...). Anyway, I found it v helpful as they talked you through the process. Best bit was trying the gas and air (husbands too!). But in the end didn't really help v much, ended up having an emergency c-section anyway. But of course this won't happen to you ...

Go if you can, you might learn something helpful!

Also, beware the whole house moving thing - we moved house when I was 39 weeks, I spent the first morning in house vigorously cleaning our new kitchen cupboards and bam - waters broke that afternoon. So don't do ANYTHING, you have the perfect excuse grin

HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 14:24:24

Grendle... in that case my life should be bliss

Your friend's birth sounds fab!

HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 14:26:10

Oh no hairygodmother, I'm definitely going to be scrubbing and cleaning if it'll get the baby out sooner! I don't want to have to heft through Christmas feeling giant, only to be induced and end up having an em cs on Jan 2nd or something equally horrendous... I'll be doing everything I can to get this baby out as close to it's due date as possible

twolittlekings Thu 05-Nov-09 14:30:45


I did not go to antenatal classes for either of my 2 DS's - at £200 a pop we could not afford it when really I have heard all it is is sitting round drinking tea and coffee and chatting.

I went to the hospital breastfeeding half day and that was it. I never felt that I was unprepared - it's nothing that you can't read in a book TBH.

I then joined the NTC after I gave birth to meet other new mums.

hairygodmother Thu 05-Nov-09 14:33:18

Well in that case I recommend hoovering as well, I hoovered our old house top to bottom the day we moved so what with that and the kitchen, I think my dd2 got the hint! Good luck with it all - like you, I didn't have labour the first time around. Did feel a little strange going to class as we were the only second-time parents (apart from another mother with a 15 year age gap who needed refreshing) so had to keep telling people I'd never been in labour. Felt a bit of a fraud but learnt a lot plus the midwife who ran it did my home visits afterwards, so felt really nice to have already met her.

busybeingmum Thu 05-Nov-09 14:33:57

Message withdrawn

HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 14:35:04

Oh I draw the line at hoovering

Perhaps I should go so I can scare all the first time mothers with horror stories of sleep deprivation That's evil, they'll all laugh when I end up with an horrendous 20 hour labour followed by em cs!

LiegeAndLief Thu 05-Nov-09 14:44:39

I had a VBAC with no antenatal classes. Ds was born at 34 weeks, so no time, and ended up being a cs with no labour in any case. Despite being desperate for a VBAC with dd I did no preparation whatsoever (possibly a bit silly) apart from a 5 minute chat with my mum about breathing which was surprisingly helpful.

I guess I was very lucky with my mw and my labour - I just did whatever she suggested, made sure I stayed upright and walking around as much as possible and held off the gas and air until I really couldn't cope any more. Don't think antenatal classes would really have added anything, but then as I said I was very lucky.

Good luck with yours!

hairygodmother Thu 05-Nov-09 14:47:33

Well I must say it did feel strangely satisfying to be sat with all these worried-looking people and feel really smug because at least we knew what we were letting ourselves in for! Plus they were all terrified - the midwife was trying to be light-hearted and my dh and I sat there laughing away and noone else reacted at all. Might also have had something to do with the fact that we were about 15 years older than most of the other people there (including the other second time mum). Ha ha. Needless to say, the midwife remembered me v clearly when she came round on her visits, think it must make them feel a bit better to have an appreciative audience. Plus you can chuck in a few bon mots of your own about your experiences of c-section. Think I scared them all to death as told them that the spinal didn't work for me and ended up with GA, oh I bet they were glad that I'd gone to their class.

HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 14:47:52

Oh I'd love to be lucky LandL... The mw at the vbac class did say that even though I haven't been in labour, that my body will in part know what to do, so although technically it's my first labour, my body isn't a complete novice. I fully intend to keep on my feet. The hospital does have a policy of continuous monitoring (you can get off the monitor occasionally to get in to the bath if you wish) but the monitors have long leads so you can get up and about while still being monitored. She did say they wanted us to succeed at our vbac so there was no point in keeping us on our backs hooked up to monitors for hours on end. Promising I guess!

HeadFairy Thu 05-Nov-09 14:49:23

Hairygodmother! I'd be a terrible advert for natural birth, I really enjoyed my cs, no horror stories from me, but they'll all be requesting their own electives afterwards!

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