Nurture Article | The Portland Hospital Parenting Magazine
Spring Issue 2012 | Lucy Elkins
When you are preparing for the birth of your baby, it can seem as if there are a hundred and one things to sort out.However, the one item on your ‘to do’ list that you should not ignore is attending an antenatal class.
It is here that you can address your concerns about the birth, learn what to expect and pick up tips on how to care for a newborn.
“It’s a really important part of becoming a parent,” says Philippa Bennett, an antenatal teacher for the National Childbirth Trust.
“If you just pick things up from the Internet or from friends, you can get information overload whereas a class allows for more focus.
“It also gives you a chance to mix with people at a similar stage of pregnancy. That in itself can be really helpful.”
And it is not just mums who can benefit. These days many classes are tailored to include dads too.
“Mums and dads often have very different worries but both can be addressed in a class,” says Teresa Walsh, a midwife and childbirth educator who runs antenatal classes at the Portland.
“A good class will help equip both mums and dads with the knowledge to have not necessarily the perfect birth, but a positive birth.
“If parents have a positive birth experience then they are more likely to begin the whole parenting process with self-belief.”
Antenatal classes normally begin at around 30 weeks of pregnancy and tend to be held in the evenings over a period of weeks. Another option for time-stretched parents is to attend a one-off day workshop.
“All classes cover the signs of early and full labour, and how to cope with each,” says Teresa. “There will also
be an outline of the various pain relief options.
“A lot of women think there’s an epidural and that’s it - but there are far more options.”
Baby care basics such as how to hold and bath your baby, dress them appropriately and breastfeeding are also covered.
Even if it is not your first baby, you might benefit from attending a refresher course.
“Parents often have anxieties about going through birth again, or how their other children will react to a new arrival. Going through a refresher course helps them deal with all these issues so that they come to the birth uncluttered,” explains Teresa.
For more information on Antenatal classes at The Portland Hospital or to book a class please contact 0207 390 6068
The National Childbirth Trust: www.nct.org.uk