Updated: Mar 11
When you think of antenatal education what comes to mind? Most people think of gaining friends going through the same life experience.
Why are we obsessed with making friends over the quality and content of the antenatal education we receive? They are expensive friends - financially and emotionally!
Good quality antenatal education can help to manage and reduce anxiety and depression of the birthing person during pregnancy and early motherhood. This education may come from antenatal classes, either in person or online in the comfort of your own home - whatever option appeals most to you, I would urge you to do some research, see what’s available, and find a course that suits you.
What to consider?
Antenatal classes should be providing evidence based information, not the teachers opinion on what they think. They should be providing you with all the information you need so you can make informed choices that are right for you and your family.
Like all the good teachers we remember from school, it is important you connect with your teacher. Meet and chat to them before you book. The class should be fun and informative! You need to feel comfortable asking them personal questions. You want to feel confident they have good up to date, evidence based subject knowledge. Are the sessions interesting and engaging so you will remember the information? You do not want to be sitting in a room being talked at.
Do not book too late. Give yourself time to think about and use the information you have been given. Think about how the classes are structured. Sessions spread out can give you time to think and reflect on the information you have received and come back with any questions you may have. Day long sessions may work from a practical point of view, but remember there is a lot of information to take in.
Things to find out about your antenatal educator
What qualifications/experience has the teacher?
How many parents will attend each session?
Is the course evidenced based?
What formats are used to deliver the training?
What is covered in each session?
Will all pain relief options be disgusted and pro’s and cons of each explained?
Will instrumental and caesarean birth be covered?
Does the course cover breast & bottle feeding?
Will you get any information following the sessions? Eg. handouts, links
How does the teacher ensure the information shared is up to date?
Is there ongoing support?
How much time is dedicated to questions?
Is there time built in to chat to others?
Can my Partner attend all sessions?
If you book a group antenatal session, the friendship will develop, no matter how poor the antenatal education is. But wouldn’t it be good to chat to your new friends about how positive your birth was and how well informed you all were ready for the fourth trimester, rather than slagging off the course and sharing how ill prepared you all feel!
Either way, you are creating lifelong memories as well as life long friends, so ensure they are unforgettable ones for the right reason.