Are you still running classes during the coronavirus pandemic?
Yes! We switched from running in-person classes to teaching on Zoom the week we went into lockdown. The classes are just as interactive and packed with practical, evidence-based information that will support you through your third trimester, labour and birth and the early days with your newborn baby. You have plenty of time to ask questions and chat with the other expectant parents in your class.
All of our classes are taught live, by practising midwives. They can offer up-to-date information on any local changes to your maternity care as a result of coronavirus. From your antenatal appointments, to birth partners access and whether all birth units / options are available.
Am I still going to make new friends through the classes?
Absolutely! We recognise how important the social aspect of antenatal classes is and have adapted our digital sessions to make sure you have plenty of time to get to know everyone in your group. This includes:
- Opening each of the 7 classes 30 minutes early for social time
- We use breakout rooms on Zoom to create small groups that make chatting easier
- The classes are super interactive – as well as whole group discussions, we use breakout rooms for small group discussions during class
- We leave the breakout rooms open after each class finishes for as long as you wish to hang out and chat (this has been anything from 30 minutes to 2 hours!)
- We facilitate small in-person group meetings in local parks, in keeping with social distancing guidance
- Every group has their own private WhatsApp group
- We run a weekly Zoom social on Friday for anyone who has booked a class with us this year.
Why are your antenatal classes not in-person at the moment?
Keeping our customers and staff safe is hugely important to us, and current social distancing guidelines means that we are simply unable to do this and run classes in person.
Most of our venues are not open, as they cannot safely offer rooms and comply with social distancing rules which recommend we keep people 2m apart from each other. Those which are open have reduced capacity to the point it is not viable to run a class even at our minimum numbers.
Even as social distancing restrictions ease, the Government recommends that pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions minimise contact with people outside of their household wherever possible.
We will return to running our classes in person as soon as social distancing rules are lifted, and it is safe to do so!
For a summary of common questions pregnant women have about Covid-19 download this infographic: Pregnant in a pandemic infographic – University of Bristol
Why are pregnant women classified as ‘vulnerable’?
There is no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from Coronavirus, but the Government has placed pregnant women within the clinically vulnerable group as precaution.
This is because we know that pregnant women can sometimes be more at risk from viruses, such as flu. Coronavirus is a new virus, so the Department of Health doesn’t want to take any risks with the health of pregnant women or their babies.
There is some evidence that coronavirus can be passed onto your baby before they are born – but it is important to say that when this has happened, the babies got better!
Cases from around the world show that some women who were very unwell with coronavirus had premature babies. It is not clear if this is due to coronavirus, or whether it was recommended for the benefit of the mother’s health and wellbeing. There is no evidence to show that coronavirus causes miscarriage.
If you’re in your third trimester or more than 28 weeks’ pregnant, you are advised to be particularly attentive to social distancing rules. This is because a study of 427 pregnant women in May 2020 by the UK Obstetric Surveillance System (UKOSS) found that the majority of women who become severely ill with coronavirus were in their third trimester.
The study also found that some women are at a higher risk of developing serious illness:
- Pregnant women from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME)
- Women over the age of 35
- Women who are overweight or obese
- Women who have pre-existing medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
Do we really need to go to private antenatal classes?
We think so, because the number of antenatal classes on offer by the NHS has significantly reduced in recent years, so you may only be offered two or three hours of classes. This is not really enough time to learn all you need to know!
Our classes offer fourteen hours of teaching time (and a two-hour reunion), and are taught by registered midwives. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience you will not find in books and they will support you with any questions or worries you have, even outside of classes. You’ll not only do you learn about what to expect during labour and birth, but also the practicalities of early parenthood – including the highs, the lows and many coping strategies to help you through.
Plus, we limit the size of our classes (to 5-10 couples) so that you get plenty of time to ask questions, and get to know the other expectant mums and dads in your group. This is a great opportunity to build a real support network of others expecting their babies at a similar time to you in your local area, which is so important in those first few months when you’re all learning how to be a parent!
What’s the difference between New Life Classes and NCT?
One of the main differences is that our classes are exclusively taught by registered midwives, whereas NCT classes aren’t, they are taught by antenatal practitioners.
We believe midwives are best-placed to teach antenatal classes, because they have broad clinical experience of all aspects of birth – from antenatal and postnatal care, to supporting women in birth. Student midwives can only graduate when they have helped deliver (or catch) 40 babies. Plus, to work as midwives, they have to maintain their registration – which means mandatory training days every year. Their knowledge is always up-to-date and they have a great understanding of how the local NHS service runs.
Is New Life a religious organisation?
No, New Life simply refers to your baby and the new life you are starting as parents. We deliver evidence-based information in our antenatal classes that will help you on the journey into parenthood.
We have no affiliations to any religious groups. Many of our classes are held in church halls simply because that’s where the baby groups are held in the local area, and we wanted to be in a place new parents will go back to when their babies arrive.
Will I meet other expectant mums and dads in my area?
Yes, 100%! Not only are our classes situated in the heart of your community, ensuring you meet other parents-to-be in your local area, but we have also chosen child-related venues that you will be able to go back to with your new friends and meet even more new mums and dads. Creating a social circle and support network of like-minded people is at the heart of what we do. But don’t take our word for it, check out what our customers had to say about our classes.
“We made good friends with the other people we met on the course and enjoy gong to different activities with our respective babies together. We would definitely recommend the classes to anyone that is expecting.” Phil & Philippa, Bedminster
Should my birth partner attend the classes with me?
Definitely! Birth partners play such an active role in supporting new mums. We’ve put together the course content so that it helps both mum and birth partner fully prepare for your upcoming birth – and parenting a newborn. This is one of the biggest life changes you’ll go through, and we want to make sure you have all the tools at your disposal to approach it with confidence. Also, remember you can have more than one birth partner – the Dad, a family member or close friend. Find out more about the role of your birth partner here.
I don’t have a birth partner. Does this matter?
Not necessarily, but you might like to think about someone who could support you during your labour. Your midwife may not have the time to spend all their time with you when you’re in the early stages of labour, so a birth partner can make a real difference.
If you aren’t sure how to choose a birth partner click here to read more about the birth partners role and have a think about who might be the best fit.
I’m having an elective caesarean. Do I still need to attend an antenatal course?
Definitely! We cover so much more than your labour during the classes, from what to prepare at home, to changes in your relationship and how to look after your new baby in the early days. Plus, there is the added benefit of meeting other new parents living near you. Click here to view the antenatal class programme.
I’m having twins. Is this the right course for me?
Absolutely! Not only will we address your individual needs and provide relevant information for your situation, but we also think it’s important for you to meet other parents in your local area – which might be more difficult if you attend a twins only class.