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What antenatal classes???

(19 Posts)
bigbutton Tue 21-Jun-11 15:53:06

I was watching the one show last night whilst cooking. They had a feature on some antenatal classes being run for dads. I think the idea was to help them feel more prepared to support their partner. And that's great and all but...

I've been offered a 2.5 hour "birthing workshop". That's it. And within that time, there'll be a tour of the facilities at the hospital. Add in time to get settled etc, we're probably talking an hour and a half, at most.

This is my first pregnancy, but I was sort of hoping for more information than it is possible to exchange within an hour and a half. Tbh, I'm just getting my head round actually giving birth, and was hoping my "antenatal classes" would make me feel more prepared.

Is this a normal amount of time? What sort of antenatal classes have other people been offered? Are they really so superfluous that an hour and a half will cover it?

nannyl Tue 21-Jun-11 16:29:52

i think it depends on the area where you live as to what you get.

I have paid for NCT classes instead, for about 8 evenings learning about different elements of birth / breast feeding etc smile

piprabbit Tue 21-Jun-11 16:34:59

If you can afford NCT classes, they can be a great help. You get much more time (8 weekly sessions I think, although other formats maybe available to you locally), and the sessions are for both you and your partner.

Go to and there should be a box for your postcode which will tell you what is happening in your area.

EthelredOnAGoodDay Tue 21-Jun-11 16:35:34

i also paid for NCT classes. I did the NHS ones too, but they were much less detailed and the NCT ones, as well as labour and birth info, gave some info on actually looking after the baby, which was great for me as we were clueless!! grin

philbee Tue 21-Jun-11 16:49:04

The NCT classes are also quite geared towards meeting other parents to be, so you will have a good support group around you for when the baby is born. I found that really useful in the first few months, and we still meet up now. Can you ask if there's anything else available? I intended to go to NHS classes with DD1 and I think they were about six hours over three sessions, so a lot more time than that. Tbh, preparing for the birth is important, but so is preparing for feeding, nappy changing, bathing etc., so they should provide some info on that too, surely?

bigbutton Tue 21-Jun-11 16:54:22

NCT classes would have been great as I am also totally clueless! Unfortunately, the pregnancy got off to a bit of a rocky start (medically, all fine now) and, by the time I was sure enough that I was actually going to be having the baby to try and book them (23 weeks), the nearest available place was 40 minutes drive away. Don't think I'll be able to get DH there with his working times and I'm not mad keen on going without him.

The NCT do have a local meetup thing in a coffee shop though, so I'd like to go to that sometime. My mum made some really good friends at her antenatal classes, and I'm a bit disappointed that I won't have the same opportunity. I don't know anyone locally who has/will be having a baby. Maybe I'm the only one, and that's why no classes seem to be running. Only about few tens of thousands of people living in my immediate area, after all. grin

philbee Tue 21-Jun-11 17:11:06

My NCT branch has 'bumps and babes' meet ups where you can go before having the baby. I think that's really worth doing as well as you'll meet other mums there. And you can advertise on Netmums 'meet a mum' board to meet people. Tbh, it's the first few weeks that the social stuff would be most useful - as soon as you get out and about to groups etc. you will meet loads of other mums and make friends.

bigbutton Tue 21-Jun-11 17:22:03

Thanks philbee. I will definitely drop into the NCT meetup. As for the birth and babycare stuff, I guess I'll just have to buy a book/read up online and prevail upon my mother.

piprabbit Tue 21-Jun-11 17:41:55

Definitely go to Bumps and Babies if you can - and pick everyone's brains about what they've been taught in their classes.

MissTinaTeaspoon Tue 21-Jun-11 17:47:55

It's worth contacting your gp surgery to speak to a health visitor too - mine sent me a letter and then came to the house when I was pregnant to introduce herself, and then when dd was 8 weeks old she ran postnatal classes where I met up with local mums with babies the same age. I didn't go to antenatal classes because the ones at my surgery weren't timed well with when I needed them (I thought 20 weeks was too early but then the next lot didn't end up starting till I was 36 weeks) so the postnatal group was great.

philbee Tue 21-Jun-11 17:50:52

Actually, worth asking your NCT branch about postnatal meet ups too. My friend in the next borough over got a leaflet through the door just after her DD was born asking her to a meet up for mums who'd had babies in the last few months. She's still in touch with several mums from there too, so that would be something else for afterwards.

MsChanandlerBong Tue 21-Jun-11 18:15:48

Have a chat with your midwife too - I know it varies from area to area, but for instances, there are Parentcraft classes in my area that are free to attend.

Catsycat Tue 21-Jun-11 19:58:43

If you can find out who your local NCT antenatal teachers are, they might be prepared to do a couple of one to one sessions.

I got to know both our local teachers quite well (one ran the Bumps and Babies group and ran the NHS Parentcraft classes (which she thought were not long enough), and the other was our antenatal teacher with DD1). When we had DD2, we asked the one we had been to classes with previously to be our Doula, which included one to one antenatal meetings. (She did it for expenses only as she was training as a doula, so it cost about £31.00!! )

It might be worth seeing if they would meet you privately - both the teachers and the NCT breast feeding counsellor I know are really kind and motivated by a desire to help other women, and I could imagine them wanting to help.

TheWicketKeeperIsDown Tue 21-Jun-11 21:31:52

We did one of the NCT weekend courses as we wouldn't have been able to make it to the full course of evening classes. I would highly recommend it - we all still meet up over 2 years down the line. It was 2 full days (Sat and Sun about 9 or 10 till 4) and then another 2 hour evening breastfeeding session on a weekday evening the next week.

rooks14 Tue 21-Jun-11 21:49:34

NCT is very expensive! But based on your income you can get a 90% discount, I'm on a £150 course for £12.50!!!

Icoulddoitbetter Tue 21-Jun-11 21:55:55

I found my NCT class to be fantastic, and not all pushy about "natural" birth that I was afraid it might be.

My NHS MW-led ones were rubbish. But my hospital also offered physio-run sessions that focussed on breathing, positions in labour (and fully admitting that some of the ward MW's would not like you insisting that lying down was not how you wanted to give birth!). It may be worth seeing if they are available in your area.

redexpat Fri 24-Jun-11 13:48:32

Oh god I thought it was just me!! smile I've been offered a one day crash course at the hospital, and this is part of 'improved' preparations!

If you are feeling uncertain, the chances are the other women there will be too. You could be assertive and suggest exchanging names, numbers or having a more informal get together at a coffee shop or something.

Also I would read up as much as you can beforehand, write down any questions you have so that you can get the most out the time you do have. Could you get a pregnancy yoga dvd from the library to help with breathing exercises?

Daisybell1 Fri 24-Jun-11 14:29:51

I haven't had the best experience with my NCT - I was very nervous about the classes I'd signed up for, and in the end they were cancelled through lack of interest. They have transferred our booking onto a course which starts when I'm 37 weeks hmm A friend who did the course felt it gave her no preparation for her experience where she was induced, constantly monitored and struggled to BF.

However, I think we're lucky with our NHS ones - we're getting 2 saturday afternoon sessions (ok, not masses of time) but there are additional monthly BF workshops, a baby cafe for afterwards, plus ante-natal physio, aqua-natal and pregnancy yoga, all organised or sanctioned by the hospital.

So long as all these are ok, am going to ask the NCT for my money back!

LoveBeingAbleToNamechange Fri 24-Jun-11 14:37:24

If you call your local childrens centre they'll be able to give you some more advice too.

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