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 learned 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 can be found on the digital learning platform, alongside the teaching videos!
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 WhatsApp group
The class WhatsApp group is there for you to get to know the others in your group, organise social meet-ups outside of class and share useful (or funny) information with each other. It is also a place your midwife will share information or be available to answer any questions you have between sessions – or after your baby is born. 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 separate WhatsApp group
Antenatal classes are a great place to make a new set of friends…but it still takes effort! As well as the class WhatsApp group, we recommend you set up two additional groups – one for the mums and another for the dads, 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. Everyone in your group wants to make new friends – why not be the first to get the socials started. We have had groups who have gone for drinks after class (from the first session), and other groups who have preferred to meet for a quick meal before the classes start (just make sure you arrive to class on time!) Or those who plan meet-ups at the weekend, as the midweek socials don’t work for them. Many of our groups 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.