Antenatal classes

Antenatal classes are recommended for pregnant women especially those expecting their first child.

They are enjoyable and help prepare you for childbirth, feeding your baby and the early days looking after your baby. It also provides a chance for you to meet some of the healthcare professionals that may be involved in your care during and following childbirth.

Antenatal classes are available for free on the NHS or are run privately for a fee. The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) run private classes, which are usually, smaller groups and go into more depth.

Ask a midwife at your chosen maternity unit or your community midwife about where and when the NHS antenatal classes are held</gras

NHS classes often take place at your chosen maternity unit where you have decided to give birth. Private classes are usually held locally to where you live and will be organised by your chosen organisation or private midwife.

As well as mentally and physically preparing you for childbirth and motherhood it gives you the chance to meet other parents and discuss fears concerns and make new friends.

You can expect a variety of information to be given at these classes such as:
  • Maintaining good health and fitness during pregnancy and labour.
  • Getting to know your body better and to learn about what happens when giving birth.
  • Gain a better understanding about pain relief during labour and how to cope with it.
  • Learning about the different positions that will help during labour.
  • To learn a breathing techniques in order to relax between two contractions.
  • The role of the future dad before, during and after giving birth
  • To learn relaxation exercises and techniques before and during labour.
  • Make arrangements to visit your local maternity unit to familiarise yourself with labour ward, and the machines in the birthing room.
  • Breast and bottle-feeding
  • Postnatal issues such as your physical and mental wellbeing, contraception after giving birth

Classes maybe held during the day or evenings so that partners can attend. They are normally held weekly and start approximately 10 weeks before your baby is born.

For more Information

NHS classes and care

National Childbirth Trust
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