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 Bath
Antenatal classes in Bristol

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

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?

One of the main differences is that our classes are exclusively taught by registered midwives, whereas NCT classes by antenatal practitioners who don’t require clinical experience.

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 40 women give birth. 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.

FAQs: Covid

What covid safety measures do you have in place? 

Hand sanitiser: All our venues have hand sanitiser stations, we ask all our attendees to use this as you enter and move around the building.

Symptoms: Please do not attend class if you have any covid symptoms, or if you have been asked to self-isolate for any reason. Symptoms include: 
Continuous cough
Loss of taste or smell
High temperature
Cold or flu-like symptoms

Masks: Masks are optional, some customers prefer to use them still.

Social distancing: We space the seating out with a gap between each household. During small group discussions, you can move into smaller groups but we ask you maintain some distance between household bubbles. 

Ventilation: During class any windows and doors will be opened to promote airflow through the room. In the summer this is standard practice as we try to keep you cool. In the winter our rooms are heated, but on colder evenings we recommend wearing warm clothes. 

Props: All the props we use in class are cleaned before use. There is hand sanitiser available if you need to share any props, although we have reduced the need for this.

Why are pregnant women classified as ‘vulnerable’ in reference to Covid?

Current evidence from the UK suggests that pregnant women are not more likely to get seriously ill from Coronavirus than other healthy adults. However, if they are unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated they are more at risk of becoming seriously unwell if they do catch Covid. In this case, it can lead to admission to intensive care and increased likelihood of:
– premature birth
– developing pre-eclampsia
– needing an emergency caesarean section
– stillbirth (although the rate remains low)

There is no evidence to suggest that catching Covid during early pregnancy increases the likelihood of miscarriage. Transmission from mum to baby during pregnancy or childbirth appears to be uncommon too.

For more information about Covid-19, pregnancy and newborn care please visit these pages: 
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists – Pregnancy & Coronavirus updates
NHS: Pregnancy and coronavirus