What are they and why are they important?
Antenatal classes should help parents to prepare for the birth of, and also life with, their new baby.
Sometimes parents-to-be will greatly benefit from individual classes but if group classes are preferred then they should be of reasonable size (3-4couples max) to remain personalised.
Couples should start looking for antenatal classes at around 21-24 weeks and start attending classes at around 32 weeks (earlier for multiple pregnancies).
However, anytime is better than never!
There will be several sessions over a few weeks and the ideal time to finish them is around 37 weeks. Term babies can be born between 37 and 42 weeks. People usually forget what EDD means : Estimated Due Date!
I usually offer individual classes. I like to meet parents-to-be for a chat before the beginning of the course to discuss their wishes and specific requests. Therefore all their questions, doubts and worries will be tackled during the antenatal classes.
Generally, the addressed topics are
end of pregnancy,
all phases of labour, birth,
breastfeeding (physiology and in practice),
the postnatal period (the new mother, the new father, the baby, siblings etc.).
Parents wishing to be informed on bottle feeding can ask for an additional session.
During these classes, you will get evidence-based information, be able to share your opinion and your experience, find out about the choices you have with childbirth and parenting. Even if childbirth is a natural process, preparing for this normal life event is essential because:
Handing down of knowledge through families and friends is often poor in our modern society.
The societal image of childbirth in the media is often incorrect.
Internet information often causes fear and doubts for parents-to-be
The organisation of maternity services do not currently allow parents-to-be to know the midwife who will be at the birth of their baby.
I believe that women are naturally programmed to give birth to their babies and partners and supporters have similar intuition to protect and support them. The antenatal classes I propose will help you to reawaken this lost knowledge and empower you to achieve a positive birth experience.