When I had my booking appt my midwife gave me a form to send off saying I wanted to do NHS antenatal classes. I have done so - my question is, does anyone know what these classes cover? The info was on the form and I can only remember the bits about breastfeeding and a virtual tour of the hospital! Also, when I am likely to hear back from them and when are the classes likely to take place? And would anyone recommend doing any other classes on top of these?
I had my 16 week appt this week and stupidly forgot to ask the midwife! Can ring her of course but I'd rather not hassle her for something that can probably wait.
My local hospital ran a series of 4 classes that covered 'What to do when you go into labour', pain relief, breastfeeding & caring for your newborn. Nothing I couldn't have found out in a decent book, to be honest, but with your first baby, you feel you should go along
Classes are likely to take place when you're in the third trimester - round here they run them between 33-37 weeks.
They will cover the basics, worth going along to if only for the possibility of meeting other local new mums and if you have any specific questions about the hospital.
I did an Active Birth class which I found much more useful (although didn't get the chance to put much of it into practice). Lots of people recommend doing NCT classes - again mainly for the opportunity to meet other new mums. They get booked up quickly though so you will need to book these asap. Details will be on the NCT website.
I thought it was worth going to the NHS ones as they did give us some information that was specific to the hospital e.g. where we are allowed to park in an emergency, what facilities they have on the delivery suit, can't really remember cos it was a long time ago but I did seem to get information that was specific to the hospital.
Ours were three classes of two hours and were full of lies e.g. contractions don't hurt, babies sleep 18 hours a day, breastfeeding is easy, babies need a bath once a day .
Quite honestly aside from humour value they were a complete waste of time.
The hospital tour is worth doing if you think it'll help you relax about going to the hospital. But quite honestly unless you've been living in a cave there is very little you don't know by reading a few birth stories.
Also the classes will probably focus on birth - you have the baby for a lifetime after that. So insane as it might seem, you'd be better reading up on what happens after the one day of birth because there are no classes on taming truculent toddlers or dealing with explosive nappies.
We were given the opportunity to bath and change the nappy of a plastic doll. And we got to play with a knitted uterus too! Not sure how much this will help come the big day...
In all seriousness, they vary a lot so I'd go to the first session and then decide whether it's worth carrying on. If it's not much cop you might be better dedicating an evening each week to having a nice meal and then reading Miriam Stoppard or some such.
The most useful bit for me was the tour of the ward and you can arrange that independently.
Ours covered all the basics but not much you couldn't learn elsewhere. I guess it does vary from area to area but what was great about ours was that the midwives had been really thoughtful about who was in the class and so were were all in our early to mid thrirties and all lived within 10 minutes walk of each other. The midwife running the class encouraged us all to swap contact details and when we were on maternity leave pre-babies we used to meet up for lunch and a moan and when our babies were born it was a great support network.
My hospital also did a half day breast feeding workship whch was fab. If you are planning to breastfeed I really recommend you learn as much as possible before the birth as post natal support on this can be terrible.