I was asked this question the other day. And, as an antenatal teacher, my answer is yes – if I didn’t think they made a difference, I wouldn’t be doing this job.
I love what I do and I honestly believe it makes a difference – this will be different for everyone because some parents need more information and support than others and it also depends on the antenatal classes. I can only talk about mine which I have designed to provide information, practical skills, discussion and the opportunity to ask questions – and they are based on 15 years experience working with expectant and new parents.
My antenatal classes can make a difference because they give you the opportunity to think about labour & birth so you know…
- more about the physiology of labour and birth, so you are not scared of your contractions and your behaviour because you know what your body is doing
- your options and the importance of being assertive and involved with decisions so you can continue to gather the information you need
- what can help you with your energy, to stay calm and your ability to work with your contractions
- about birth support – what you might need and what your partner can do
- how to use your breathing to stay as calm as possible
- induction and caesareans – so you know more of what to expect, why these might be needed and what your options are
My aim is not just to provide knowledge and skills, it is also about giving you the opportunity to think about, discuss and have better preparation for the reality of birth so you are informed and involved, able to say what you need, able to adapt your birth plan when needed and feeling more confident about the different steps of your labour and birth.
Good antenatal classes are not about only preparing for a natural birth, they are about decision-making as well as understanding and staying calm with interventions if you choose them or need them. That’s why antenatal classes can make a difference…