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Not offered antenatal classes or unit visit(17 Posts)
I need a little advice because I've never done this before.
I'm 36+3 with my first baby and asked my midwife today when I would be having antenatal classes. She told me I'd need to book them through the AN clinic and when I rang up there is no availability until after my due date. I assumed you would be offered these rather than seeking them out. The AN clinic said that there are posters up but I've not been to clinic for 2+ months - I had no idea, am I missing out not going to them?
I also have no idea where the midwife led centre is and haven't been offered a visit... when does this usually happen?
Sorry for the million questions, I am just feeling a little bit lost.. thanks Cat
Hey Cat, I think it depends on where you live as I was told about classes during my booking appointment at 8 weeks but a friend in another part of the country wasn't. You could either kick up a fuss until they let you join a class, or perhaps seek out something like NCT in your local area? My GP surgery run some classes on different topics, maybe yours does too? Sorry this happened though, it's not nice to feel like you've had the rug pulled out from under you.
You should have the number for your MLU in your notes somewhere, if not just call the hospital switchboard and ask to be put through. Our MLU stopped doing tours but would show you around if you signed up for a 2 hour active birth course. There was also a lot of information about the MLU on the hospital website.
Good luck with everything x
I've always just booked my own ante-natal classes, they book up fast so you have to plan early. You could look into finding an NCT class, some do everything over one weekend, so you might be able to find one before your due date.
I don't think they do tours now, as they can be quite disruptive, they don't in our area anyway. All you need to know is how to get to the hospital and the maternity reception, youll be looked after from there!
They weren't offered in my area either, and they didn't do tours of my midwife unit, they used to but people had to contact to book a tour in themselves. Antenatal classes are good if you want to potentially make friends prior to giving birth, but you can ask your midwife any birth questions or pain relief questions and go through breastfeeding and formula feeding.
After birth I'd recommend going to local baby groups for support and making friends.
You've got to be a bit proactive about these things - it's an overstretched service, they're not going to be automatically booking you in for non-essential tours and classes. Don't panic though, you won't have missed out on anything crucial.
It's a shame if you wanted to do antenatal classes and can't get on one (I think you'd be lucky to get on an NCT class in time , but worth a try) but it's not essential by any means. You can get the info they give from baby books, and join a postnatal group for the social side.
I did a 'tour' of the birthing centre, which I had to book. It involved poking my head round the door of the one suite not in use. Then I had birth complications and couldn't use the centre anyway. Even if I had, the tour would have made no difference. I think our hospital has actually stopped doing them now.
I don't think many places offer a tour now but where they do, it's generally down to you to get booking. Same really applies to antenatal classes - i think it's pretty usual to arrange these for yourself. Tbh you've left it quite late as they get really booked up - maybe see if an NCT has a cancellation or something? Alternatively, NCT does an 'early days' course where ch you take baby too...that might be good solution for you now?
In my area, we are offered information about the antenatal classes at 25 week appointment. But I have been asking about them for a while as I have a difficult work schedule, so knew I needed to get it booked in. My hospital doesn't offer unit tours anymore as there is an online virtual tour.
It doesn't sound like the midwife is at fault here though - enquiring at 36 weeks is very late (I'm on my first pregnancy too). There might be some spaces on private birth preparation courses in your area. In my experience NCT will be reluctant to accept you at this stage - they made a fuss about me booking on a course that finishes a few weeks before due date incase baby arrives early.
Antenatal classes do get booked up quickly. I did the hospital ones and it was sort of useful but nothing you wouldn't know by reading a book/internet. I didn't stay in touch with anyone so I don't think you're really missing out. BUT I did find the tour really good. Made me a lot less anxious about giving birth as I knew where I would be/how the process worked (ie reception, triage, types of room there were etc). At mine they did tours one evening a week and you just turned up. I would ask your midwife if they do this - but if they don't they don't.
Oh I also did an NCT early days course which I would recommend once the baby is born
Our local midwife led unit doesn't do visits, depends what the practice is in your area. I find you have to do your own research re antenatal classes. I moved house about 20wks and ended up booking NCT ones (having been unable to find any NHS ones) though this was about 20wks - to be honest you did leave a bit late at 36wks. My classes were good for a friendship group in a new area but there was no earthshattering info - it was my first too.
Our hospital doesn't do tours either anymore, but they have a virtual tour on their website of both the mlu and consultant-led unit. Maybe worth checking if your hospital does that?
I was told about the antenatal classes in passing fairly early on with DC1 and told to book myself, but there were no reminders and nothing written down about them. IIRC I had to book around 20wks and the course was around 34wks. This time no mention has been made at all. TBH they were a bit of a waste of time for me, as they didn't cover much and as PPs have said, you can find all of the information online (which I already had). They were useful for DH as he hadn't done any reading into labour and birth, not even the book for Dads I'd got him, and was unlikely to. Clearly he wasn't alone in this as whilst the midwife talked, the women nodded along and the men sat slack-jawed and staring. I suspect you have left it far too late for the NHS classes, but as others have said you can do private sessions instead. The NCT do them, but they are pricey and again you have probably left it too late to get a space. In my area there are also classes run by the children's centres and a few individuals who run classes in a variety of subjects like pain relief, meditation/hypnobirthing, breastfeeding, as well as general antenatal and all these classes seem to be a lot cheaper.
Where I live no one gets a tour they have to much to do. I done 3 of the anti natal classes i found them a waste of time nothing you can't learn online tbh.
Don't panic about all the official stuff once your in labour and have a new born all this stuff goes out the window anyways you will do just fine without it
Thanks everyone, i really appreciate the feedback. I really did want to go - I have no friends or family in the area (I live in Wales and they are about 7 hours away) so it would have been great not only to have that information but to meet people who are going through the same things who lived nearby.
I feel stupid for just assuming they'd tell me when to book things or who to call if I went into labour, I've been so keen all the way along - I just assumed that everyone did it at the end so when I asked today (because I was worried it was getting late and I didn't want to miss it).
Because it's my first I just didn't know I had to ask for it. I will see if there is anything in my area. I'm now worried I've missed other things because I wasnt aware of them. It's really hard if you don't have guidance or at least know someone who has been through it before.
Thanks again for your help, I really appreciate it. C
I really wouldn't worry that you've missed other things as long as you've been having regular midwife appointments which it sounds like you have.
And as for who to call when you go into labour - is there a list of numbers in your maternity notes? (There was in mine). And ask your midwife at your next appointment if you have questions - that what they're there for
In my area they don't have any NHS antenatal classes.
There is a choice of hospitals and only one of them offers tours.
NCT gets booked up way ahead in my area (I had to book mine at around 20 weeks in order to get onto the one intended for my due date - I think I got the last place).
There are lots of other ways to meet local mums to be though so please don't worry.
Things like pregnancy yoga, daisy birthing, hypnobirthing, local Facebook mums groups.
Your local children's centre probably runs a postnatal group as well once your baby is born - I met some lovely mums at this.
Some of the best mum friends I made were not through antenatal - so don't worry. One was at the baby's first weigh-in at the children's centre when another new mum introduced herself and suggested meeting up and asked for my number (felt strange at the time as we had hardly spoken, but I'm so glad she did). Another was someone I met at a one-off children's centre baby sensory day who asked if I was on Facebook and we got chatting on that after the session and then met up.
Don't worry about not knowing anyone just yet. None of my close pre-baby friends had/have children and I didn't pay the NCT for antenatal classes (most people sign up for these to meet other parents rather than the course). Instead, as soon as I felt able to get out (at about 3wks PP), I tried out loads of different baby groups/activities. It's a bit of a numbers game, much like dating, to find mum friends who you have more in common with than just a baby so don't be put off if you don't meet 'the one' immediately. Different groups have different dynamics too and some are just awful and can be a bit clicky. At the groups for new babies, everyone is in the same boat: nervous, doesn't know anyone, feeling totally out of their depth with the new human. I now have a few friends who I meet for cake, softplay, and play dates, and a larger group of women who I meet up with at the same groups each week.
It might be worth checking out if your NCT run a 'Bumps and Babies' group. It's for expectant parents and new parents of pre-moving babies. Here it is only £1 a session and you don't need to be an NCT member. It's just an opportunity to meet others, drink tea and eat biscuits for a few hours. NCT activities like these can be found on your local one's Facebook page.
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