A few lovely pregnant ladies I know have asked me “is it worth going to antenatal classes?” My personal opinion, for first time parents, is yes.
I was extremely anxious throughout my pregnancy. I worried about everything. I desperately wanted to enjoy the experience but I felt so sick, exhausted, frightened and paranoid most of the time (what’s that twinge, is she moving enough, what will labour be like, what if I have a panic attack, what if I’m sick, how on earth am I going to get this baby OUT?! Sorry hubby, I know I drove you mad!) The thought of labour and giving birth can feel very overwhelming. I wanted to meet other ladies who were expecting their first baby and feeling the same way I did, so antenatal classes seemed like the best way to do this.
So we signed up to our local NCT group and I’m so thankful we did. Through there I have met some of my closest friends. We call ourselves The Yummy Mummies and we have built an amazing friendship. Our babies are nearly one (where has the time gone girls?!) We are there for each other and support one other, our little ones have play dates and we meet every week and have girlie nights out when we can. They’ve made such a positive impact on my life and I’m so grateful to them.
The classes themselves were helpful. For me, the main issue was pain relief. I was so worried that I just wouldn’t be able to cope with the pain, I had no idea what to expect and wanted to know my options. This was covered in detail and made me feel more at ease. It gave me the encouragement I needed to leave my options open when it came to my birth plan choices.
We went through the stages of labour, pain relief, labour positions, how you might feel as a couple once baby arrives, breastfeeding and basic care of baby (how to change a nappy, bathing your baby, using a sling etc.) As far as I’m aware NCT doesn’t cover formula feeding in the class (at least this is what we were told anyway), but we were given some informative hand outs to take away with us. Breastfeeding coverage was pretty basic too, but you just don’t know how it’s all going to go regarding feeding until your baby is here. LL had trouble latching on, it just wasn’t working for us so we had to resort to formula. It would have been helpful to cover basic points around formula feeding (brands, equipment, sterilising etc.)
There was laughter each week, (the men were hilarious, my friend’s hubby wanted to know if he needed to check how dilated his wife was himself. He had no idea what it all meant and as you can imagine the room erupted in laughter as he looked around innocently. “What?” He asked. Bless him, he’ll never live that down!) The general atmosphere was relaxed. We could ask questions when we wanted (the men did most of the asking, us ladies just wanted the info and there were a few eye rolls!) Our tutor was very approachable, she was more than happy to go through any concerns we had after each class. She was supportive and gave advice where she could (even providing tissues when I had a bit of a meltdown after one session!) Hand outs with what we had covered were given out during each session so we had all the information to hand whenever we needed it.
So if you’d like to meet other people who are in the same position as you then definitely think about attending a class. If it isn’t for you, than that’s perfectly fine too, just do what is best for you.