What are antenatal classes and are they worth it?

Most antenatal classes focus on improving your skills and confidence as well as preparing you for a positive birth experience.

Antenatal classes can help you and your partner prepare for labour, birth and the early stages of parenthood.

They are usually run by midwives and take place at children’s centres. The classes aim to provide helpful information about topics such as your developing baby, changes you may experience, caring for your newborn and your health and wellbeing.

The Pros 

Calm those nerves: Pregnancy, birth and caring for a newborn baby can seem overwhelming, particularly for first-time moms! Many women experience anxiety when faced with this massive milestone; after all, their lives are about to permanently change. Antenatal classes can offer that peace of mind and a feeling of preparedness for this new and exciting journey.

“An antenatal class can offer a sense of community. You will have the opportunity to meet and socialise with other women in the same boat as you.”

Somebody to lean on: Although there is a wealth of information on the internet or at libraries surrounding these particular topics, an antenatal class can offer a sense of community. You will have the opportunity to meet and socialise with other women in the same boat as you. Some women form special friendships in these classes that last well after the final class takes place. Sometimes a warm smile and an understanding ear is all you may need during this time.

Mother doesn’t always know best: Your mother-in-law may mean well with her advice but gaining a general perspective with a variety of information and methods is beneficial, particularly when a professional provides that information. Knowledge is power and the more knowledge you have at your fingertips, the more informed your personal decisions will be.

The Cons

You’ve got bills – they’re multiplying! Having children is expensive. During the months of pregnancy, you are most probably stocking up on the necessities such as nappies, clothes, nursery items, etc. Your budget may seem a little stretched right now and you may consider forfeiting antenatal classes to save a little money.

Information overload: Antenatal classes do offer a great deal of valuable information, but this information can be offered in heaps in such a short space of time, leaving the mother-to-be feeling more stressed than before. Sometimes you may leave the class feeling overwhelmed. One of the major arguments against antenatal classes is that all this information can go straight out the window in the heat of the moment, as very little of it has actually been retained.

The bottom line

If you’re experiencing anxiety and have the time and budget to allow for antenatal classes, these be of enormous benefit to you – and your partner. However, if these classes just don’t seem to work for you, rest assured. We are living in the age of the Internet where all information is easily accessible. Just be sure to speak to your healthcare professional about your concerns and ask them to refer you to reliable parenting resources like BabyYumYum!