FAQs: New Life antenatal classes

Are your antenatal classes taught in person?

Yes! All our group classes are taught in person by local practising midwives. They’re a great place to meet other parents expecting their babies at a similar time to you. 

Antenatal classes in Bristol

We also have fully digital courses, for anyone who lives outside of Bristol. These are accessed via our digital learning platform, hosted on Kartra.

Will I meet other first-time parents in my area?

Yes, 100%! Creating a social circle and support network of like-minded people is at the heart of what we do. We welcome 5-10 pregnant women and their birth partners to each group. You’ll be invited to join the class WhatsApp group and socialise from day one. Many of our groups meet up for dinner or drinks before or after class within a couple of weeks of starting the classes.

Our classes situated in the heart of your community, ensuring you meet other parents-to-be in your local area. This is a great support network for the early days with your new baby! But don’t take our word for it, check out what our customers have to say about our classes.

“…we were paired with other amazing couples, with whom we still maintain a warm relationship, sharing tips, worries and laughs almost on a daily basis.” Ana & Pedro, Bedminster

Should my birth partner attend the classes with me?

Definitely! Birth partners play such an essential role in supporting new mums. Every single session has content specifically for the birth partner as we want both of you to feel 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. We welcome whoever you’ve chosen to support you during birth – your partner, 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.

We are same-sex parents, is this course right for us?

Absolutely! We have supported lots of same-sex couples and would love to support you too. Our programme is fully inclusive.

I’m having twins. Is this the right course for me?

Absolutely! Our founder has multiple sets of twins in her family (both sisters have twins, her father and brother-in-law are twins). 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.

I’m having an elective caesarean. Do I still need to attend an antenatal course?

Definitely! We discuss elective caesarean sections in our programme, including exploring your coping strategies and the birth partners role. However, 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.

Is New Life a religious organisation?

No. New Life simply refers to your baby and the new life you are starting as mothers, fathers, and parents. There is no bigger life change and we want to prepare you for this amazing journey with practical, evidence-based information and a great set of friends to support you!

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.

Do we really need to go to private antenatal classes?

We think so. According to the National Maternity Review (2020) attendance at NHS antenatal classes has declined 40% since 2010, with less than 8% attending classes in 2020.

Also, reduced budgets mean the NHS has made significant cuts to their antenatal classes. Most only offer a few hours of teaching on labour and feeding. This is not really enough time to learn all you need to know, for such a huge life change!

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?

There are a couple of key differences between what we offer at New Life Classes and what many other antenatal course providers, including NCT offer.

Firstly, our course programme has been written with the input of a broad range of midwives, doctors, health visitors, maternity and postnatal specialists, plus lots of parents. Most antenatal teachers will write their own programme, based on their own professional or personal experience, which can be helpful. However, we believe that reducing the possibility of professional or personal bias is really important, as every pregnancy, labour, birth is different and every pregnant person, their birth partner and baby have different needs.

This is also why our course leaders teach the same curriculum – rather than asking what you’d like us to cover. Pregnancy, labour and birth, feeding and parenting don’t always go the way we might expect (or wish). With this in mind, we want to prepare you for all possible scenarios, not just the ones you know about, or want to focus on because they’re your first preference. We’d rather you had the knowledge and coping strategies organised ahead of time, than be in labour without the tools to turn to, should you need them!