Antenatal Classes – What Are They?


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Is this going to be your first baby? Do you have a zillion questions and untold fears about how the baby will be born? Antenatal classes are held for this reason – clear all your worries and fears, by interacting with experts – paediatricians, gynaecologists, midwives etc.

With these antenatal classes, you can learn more about your pregnancy, the labour process, care of your new born, important techniques of breathing during your labour and suitable antenatal exercises.

Antenatal classes, sometimes also referred to as parent craft classes can help you prepare for labour, your baby’s birth and how you must look after and feed your baby viz early parenthood. With the information gained from these classes, learn how you can stay healthy during pregnancy, improve your confidence in facing the journey ahead. Find out about what labour and the birthing process is going to be like, what choices you have – whether you can deliver vaginally or when you might have to decide on a C-section, the different arrangements for labour and birth, and the choices available to you. With this you can even make your birth plan – whether you want to use an epidural, who you want with you in the labour ward, information about forceps, vacuum delivery etc.

 

Meet other parents-to-be, professionals and pour out your worries and doubts. You can make friends with the other parents-to be as well. Experience the journey together. Such friendships often help parents through their first few months with the baby. These classes serve not only for mums-to-be, but also for dads-to-be. It can help you both set off on the parenting journey, together!


Why is it important to go to antenatal classes?


It is not essentially compulsory that you attend antenatal classes, however, it can be of great help for you and your partner in focusing on the pregnancy and be better prepared for labour and childbirth. A few classes also give information on early parenthood, thus allowing you to be better prepared for the challenges and practicalities of parenthood. Classes are usually informal and fun.

 

When should you enroll for the antenatal classes?


Most often, specialists conduct introductory classes relating to baby care early on in the pregnancy. Antenatal classes usually start around 8-10 weeks before your due date – around the time you are 30 to 32 weeks pregnant.

What will you learn in these antenatal classes?




The content of the classes varies from one to another. While some focus mainly on the physical and emotional preparation for labour and childbirth, some others focus on the next level i.e early parenthood as well. The basic aim of all antenatal classes is to improve your skills and confidence, as well as preparing you for a confident and optimistic birthing experience.
The following are some of the topics that are covered during these classes.

  • Your diet and health during the pregnancy

  • What exercises you can do to keep you active and fit during the pregnancy

  • Labour and childbirth

  • Different types of pain relief and how you can cope with labour

  • What you can do to how to help yourself during labour and birth

  • Relaxation techniques

  • Info about different kinds of birth and interventions, i.e, forceps delivery, vacuum delivery

  • Early parenthood – breastfeeding techniques, baby care during the new-born stage

  • Post-natal care for you

  • How you can deal with emotions and feelings during pregnancy, birth and after


 

Some classes cover all of these topics; some others focus on certain specific aspects, such as exercises and relaxation, or caring for your baby.

 

If you are looking for such classes in Malaysia, you can check out Dr Lim’s sessions. These are to be conducted exclusively in Chinese! For more information, visit here

 

References:

BabyCenter

NHS


Hridya Anand

by Hridya Anand

A biochemist by education who could never put what she studied to good use, finally found GetDoc as a medium to do what she loved - bring information to people using a forum that is dedicated to all things medical. View all articles by Hridya Anand.




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