So you’ve chosen your class, paid your cash and are about to head to your first session with a mixture of excitement and trepidation…or maybe you’re being dragged along by your partner? However you are feeling today, we want you to leave the classes having learnt loads, laughed a lot and with a new set of friends to enjoy the final weeks of pregnancy and who knows the first few weeks, months or even years with your children as they grow up!
To help get you started we’ve put together a few handy tips on how to get the most out of your antenatal classes with New Life:
Ask lots of questions
Pretty much every midwife who chooses to join New Life as an antenatal class leader, does so because they miss having time to spend with expectant parents, answering questions and building relationships. Staff shortages and budget cuts in the NHS often leaves them with big case loads and rushing from person to person.
At New Life your course leader is not only available in the classes but also via the private Facebook group or email for any questions or concerns you might have. This support runs from your very first session to the reunion about eight weeks after your baby arrives. They have a wealth of knowledge and professional experience so don’t be afraid to make the most out of this valuable resource!
We cover a lot of information in the antenatal classes and whilst we do give you a course handbook, there is a lot more information we cover that you may want to jot down. Bring a pen and notepad if you’re a prolific note-taker, or simply use the boxes in the handbook provided.
Check out the extra reading suggestions
There is so much to learn about birth and parenting it’s almost impossible to cover everything in the detail you might like! So, we have created a reading list of articles or resources that we thing you might find useful. These will be emailed out to you on a session-by-session basis, so set aside some time to check them out…and if you have any questions pop them in the Facebook group!
Get involved in the banter
The classes are always more fun with a bit of banter…don’t be shy, your midwife will appreciate the support! Let’s be honest, antenatal classes start with a group of strangers coming together to talk about some pretty intimate topics, sometimes the only way to get through this is to laugh!
Use your class Facebook group
We use our class Facebook groups not only to share some of the videos from class (many you’ll want to watch again!) and articles we think you’ll find useful, but also funny stuff we’ve found on Facebook. Get involved and share things you think your group will enjoy!
Take the discussion home
Antenatal classes are a great place to spark discussion as the others in your group may have a different take on something, or there may have been topics discussed you wouldn’t have naturally thought about. We are simply giving you the tools and information to get you started. It’s up to you to use this and make your own choices and decisions.
Create a WhatsApp group
Antenatal classes are a great place to make a new set of friends…but it still takes effort! In your first class set up a chat group, we usually suggest the dads join one and mums another as your conversations are likely to be quite different when your babies arrive!
You don’t have to wait until the course has finished to start meeting up. We have had groups who have met for something to eat before the classes started, or waited until the last session to go for a pint (or soft drink) in the local pub. Some continue to meet on the evenings their classes run after the final session because they miss the group!
- Eat before you come to class – or bring a sandwich with you, if you’re strapped for time, we don’t mind!
- Wear comfy clothing…ideally no skirts for the labour sessions ladies!
- Bring a jumper or fan and bottle of water depending on the time of year…we can’t always control the temperature in our venues unfortunately
- If you find the chairs or sofas uncomfortable feel free to bring a cushion, or birth ball to sit on…again this one is out of our control!
Bring your birth partner!
In most of our classes this is the dad, but not always! We also welcome single parents and same-sex couples. Whatever your personal circumstances having a birth partner to support you is invaluable. Research shows that women who have good support during labour and birth have a more positive experience and in some cases a shorter labour! Choose someone who knows you well, understands the choices you have made, the relaxation techniques you’re using and the birth positions you want to try.