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What’s included?

  • 13.5 hours of teaching in 159 bite-sized videos
  • 81 page course handbook
  • 7 checklists to help your preparations for labour, birth and parenting
  • 11 tools and templates, including birth preferences document

We recommend you set aside approximately 16 hours to complete the course, as the course has various interactive elements and discussion points for you and your birth partner to work through together. 

Course programme

This programme was created with the help of a broad range of midwives, doctors, health visitors and private specialists working in nutrition, sleep, breastfeeding, mental health and fitness. Drawing on their vast experience we created a robust, evidence-based course that takes a practical look at best-practice information given by the Department of Health, NICE guidelines and World Health Organisation. In addition to this, we spoke to hundreds of parents about what they wish they had been told before their babies arrived (but never were) and incorporated many of their answers into this course.

Things to consider in your third trimester

  • Packing your birth bag and preparing your home for the big day
  • Choosing the best place to have your baby
  • Communicating your birth preferences effectively via a birth plan
  • Health and pregnancy conditions in the third trimester

Early labour and coping strategies

  • Recognise when you’re in labour and when to go into your chosen birth unit
  • Practical tips to help with a long latent phase
  • Natural pain relief methods and coping strategies
  • Top tips to help you be a great birth partner

What to expect in established labour

  • What to expect in each stage of labour – your body, your care and the birth partners role
  • The first few hours with your baby
  • Types of monitoring you’ll be offered – for mum and baby
  • Pharmaceutical pain relief methods and coping strategies

Planning for the unexpected

  • Understand the induction process
  • Coping strategies for an instrumental or caesarean birth
  • Tips on having a positive birth experience even when things don’t go to plan
  • The benefits of a birth debrief

Feeding your newborn

  • Top tips for breastfeeding
  • Managing common feeding problems effectively
  • Expressing and formula feeding safely
  • The role of your support network in a positive feeding experience

Life changes with a baby

  • Preparing for the individual life changes
  • Relationship changes with your partner, family or friends
  • Managing your mental health and wellbeing
  • Practical coping and communication strategies

Caring for your newborn

  • Nappy care and keeping your baby clean
  • Responsive parenting – recognising your baby’s cues
  • Why do babies cry – and how to cope
  • Signs of a health baby, safe sleep and SIDS prevention

Course leaders

Iona Reading – CEO

Iona founded New Life Classes in 2016 and has supported more than 3,000 first time parents with midwife-led antenatal education UK-wide. Prior to setting up New Life, she studied BSc Psychology (with a particular interest in mental health and child development) and worked in conference and event management. Her passion is providing people the knowledge, tools and professional support to start their new life as a parent with confidence.

Carley Oates – Midwife and antenatal course leader

Photo of Carley Oates, Course Leader, Nailsea antenatal classesCarley is a specialist mental health midwife in Bristol, looking after women throughout their pregnancy, labour and birth and early postnatal period. Prior to this role she was a midwife on the continuity team, looking after pregnant people and their families during pregnancy, labour (at home, on the birth centre or obstetric unit) and the early postnatal period. As well as teaching for New Life, Carley has been integral to the development of our digital courses. Prior to becoming a midwife, Carley taught pregnancy and postnatal yoga for 15 years. 


Abi Matthews – Midwife and antenatal course leader

Photo of Abi Matthews - Antenatal Course LeaderAbi is a delivery suite (obstetric unit) midwife in a busy Bristol hospital, supporting women during labour who often have more complex medical needs. As well as teaching for New Life, Abi volunteers for a charity supporting refugee women during pregnancy, birth and the early postnatal period. 



Cat Walker – Midwife and antenatal course leader

Photo of Cat Walker, antenatal course leader for New Life, with her babyCat is a midwife on delivery suite in a busy Bristol hospital. As well as teaching for New Life she joined one of our antenatal classes with her partner when they were expecting their first baby. She joins us with her new baby, Fin to demonstrate breastfeed positions, nappy changing and talk about her experiences breastfeeding a newborn. 

“I love teaching the NLC as the classes have so much information and are really interactive. They really do prepare you for all of labour, birth and the postnatal period. Since taking the classes myself and having my own baby I can say hand on heart they helped my partner to be a better birth partner and to understand and prepare for birth and having a newborn.”


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