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I missed my NHS antenatal class - what do I need to know?

(11 Posts)
Mitsouko Tue 06-Mar-12 17:48:33

Oh dear - I missed my class on Saturday - Preparation for birth and breast feeding. I've been quite housebound and in and out of hospital a bit from abdominal pain since 32 weeks and just wasn't in any shape to go. 37 + 2 so not really any chance to rebook, and unsure I could make it even if possible. Can't afford NCT / private course as had to take early maternity leave - and again, not sure I could make it out. I manage ok some days, but others are total agony.

I've left a few messages with the community midwives to see if someone could phone me with details of what is taught, and then I can do my own research from home - but no response yet - so can anyone who has been on one of these days take a moment to share what's covered exactly?

Sorry, it's my first baby so a bit clueless...

Flisspaps Tue 06-Mar-12 17:50:38

Can I be honest?

I wouldn't worry - honestly. Many, many women have never ever been to any antenatal classes and manage perfectly well. Anything that you need to know about birth, breastfeeding and babies in general can be found on the internet, the advice on MN is particularly good - and honest (unlike the information that apparently gets dished out at most classes if threads on here are anything to go by!)

PickleSarnie Tue 06-Mar-12 19:05:16

Agree with fliss, there's nothing that can't be learned on here or in books.

In fact, in some respects I think its better to not be too well informed and therefore less rigid in your expectations of an "ideal" birth and you won't be as upset when it ends up varying from your ideal. Although I'm sure people may disagree.

I really don't think I learnt anything from the breastfeeding part. It's easier to figure out with an actual baby. Although, I was lucky and had lovely midwifes after the birth who helped.

It was useful to know what happens afterwards with respect to visits from midwifes etc. And we got handed information on things to do/places to go with baby (which helped keep me sane in the early days) so definitely worth asking your midwife for that.

Mitsouko Wed 07-Mar-12 10:23:59

Thanks! Thought as much really. Just wanted to check in case anyone learned anything of real value that couldn't be picked up elsewhere.

Generally I'm feeling pretty well prepared - as much as one can be for the first time!

dlady Wed 07-Mar-12 10:32:00

I can't remember learning much at my antenatal classes (but it was nearly 14yrs ago), a bit on breathing, we did a timetable of a normal day with a newborn and details of clinic etc. The one good thing I got out of it was a social circle of new mums.
You can read/learn all you like, but it's one of those things that you have to learn 'on the job' so to speak.

Congrats, such an exciting time smile

Hotpotpie Wed 07-Mar-12 10:33:20

I went to mine last week and was really dissapointed, it felt totally unorganised, they just ran through stages of labour, when to go in to hospital, types of pain relief (pros and cons), Im supposed to be back this week for what to expect just after birth but not sure I want to go it really was quite poor. If you feel like you want to know any of that stuff then inbox me, Ill happily pass of what little I learnt smile I certainly wouldnt be worried about having missed it though

sillymillyb Wed 07-Mar-12 10:58:13

I went to one yesterday..... Midwife told us where the cheapest car park was and to take each others phone numbers. We then watched a bad 80's style video on 2women giving birth and then we went home.... So essentially, if you know where to park and have seen one born.every minute your on the same page as me after my antenatal class smile

Solace024 Sat 05-Dec-15 12:27:32

Im a first timer and as I got the flu can not go to antenatal classes- they were too close to my due date. This has me quite scared but reading the replies here has helped make me feel better. I am reading loads on pregnancy and birth and newborns too. I just wish my husband was interested in doing that too. I feel worried and alone.

BexusSugarush Sun 06-Dec-15 11:16:29

To be honest, I'm not learning much at my antenatal classes that I didn't already know from my own research and keeping up with this forum every day. There are some people there who at 32 weeks seem genuinely shocked that labour could last more than a few hours, they're that unprepared. But so far all of the information I've received at the NHS antenatal classes is all on the internet for those interested enough to look.

JennyC520 Sun 06-Dec-15 18:38:47

I wouldn't be too concerned either. The birth prep classes were informative and gave an introduction on labour stages etc but you learn more from reading leaflets and the internet. They don't teach breathing techniques etc anymore as they say people alreayd know how to breath so. Just google the labour process and whatever else u wish to know.

blushingmare Sun 06-Dec-15 19:49:40

Agree that antenatal classes teach you pretty much nothing, assuming you read stuff on the Internet etc.

Would also say NOTHING prepares you for it all first time round, no matter how prepared you feel! But FWIW, a few general points I would say....

Birth:
It's not called labour for nothing! It's unbelievably hard and painful. And can be stressful if things go wrong. Have a birth plan, but don't stress too much if it changes - just go with what you need at the time. And know that stuff can and very possibly will go wrong - be prepared for the possibility of that because it's much more of a shock if you're not. It's the most amazing feeling in the world once it's over though smile

Tens, a flannel, a straw and water are handy. Make sure your partner knows where things are in your bag. Make sure your partner knows your birth plan and medical history. Don't be afraid to speak up and question things if you feel things are being taken out of your control.

I thought all that "breathe the baby out" stuff was rubbish after my first, but with my second the midwife said to me "you need to breathe out as well as in" and I suddenly got what they mean. (all the same, wouldn't say I actually breathed him out, seem to recall quite a bit of pushing too wink, but controlling your breathing really does help)

It can take days and it can be over in a few hours, so be prepared for both eventualities!

Breastfeeding:
Can be hard to start with - expect that. Your nipples hurt to start with, even if the NCT say they should never hurt, they just do for the first week or so - expect that. Stick boob in baby's mouth at every opportunity. Even if they've just fed half an hour ago, it's perfectly possible they want to feed again and why not - it boosts your supply and is the easiest way to comfort a tiny baby. Know the people that you could go to for help if things aren't going well - NCT, Le Leche League etc - Google breastfeeding helplines. Feeding whilst lying down is a godsend if you can crack that early on - you will get more sleep.

Having a newborn:
Such a shock, so tiring, unbelievably hard work, and yet the most wonderful thing you will ever have the privilege to do. Don't expect to sleep. Feed the baby every time it squeaks. Cosleeping is not for everyone, but my goodness it makes life easier. Lower your expectations. Don't stress about routine ever for several months. Do what you need to do to survive and what works for you and your family. Banish the phrase "rod for your own back".

Expect life to change. Dramatically. Even if you've said it won't.

Above all, enjoy it. My newborn days are behind me now and although I found them such hard work, I am so happy that I can look back on them and say I did actually cherish those moments and enjoy those little bundles of joy. I have plenty of friends that didn't enjoy that time, mostly because they found it all such a shock and were always worrying about what was happening and trying to control something that is out of their control. Just live in the moment. Each stage is fleeting in the grander scheme of things. It's over in an instant and then you're on to the next thing.

Good luck!

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