june 2023

A Complete Guide to Antenatal Classes From an Expert Midwife

Wondering if you should book antenatal classes? And when or how you should book them? Our expert midwife answers all of your burning questions here.

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pregnant woman attending an antenatal class
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Antenatal classes are a great opportunity for parents-to-be who are seeking knowledge, advice, and support. Feeling fully informed about your options helps you feel more confident when making decisions about your pregnancy and birth and helps with the transition to parenthood. It can also help aid recovery and improve relationships and bonding.

Antenatal classes should cover key topics to prepare you for the realities of labour and all types of childbirth. However your birth planning works out, and whatever mode of delivery you experience, antenatal education should prepare you for that so that you can have a positive birth experience.

What do you learn in antenatal classes?

As a guide, a comprehensive antenatal course should cover the following topics at an absolute minimum:

  • Making a birth plan – why, how and what (not) to include. See our guide to writing a birth plan here.
  • Preparing for labour and birth:
    1. How to recognise the stages of labour.
    2. Understanding your hormones.
    3. What to do if you think you are in labour.
  • Your pain relief options:
    1. Non-pharmacological such as water, massage, TENS and movement.
    2. Pharmacological drugs such as paracetamol, codeine, Entonox and opiates.
    3. Anaesthetics such as epidural, spinal an