Are antenatal courses really worth doing?

We obviously get asked this question a lot. And we never get tired of talking about why we think antenatal classes are an absolutely essential part of the journey from pregnancy into new parenthood. 

So first and foremost – when should you do an antenatal course? It is usually suggested that an antenatal course should be done toward the end of your pregnancy. At Bump to Cradle we recommend that you start your antenatal course when you are between 28-32 weeks pregnant. 

At this late stage of pregnancy your mind will naturally find yourself thinking a lot about the birth of your baby as well as how your life is about to change as you become a parent. There are a lot of things to think about with regard to both of these subjects and an antenatal course should firstly help you to explore, work through, seek advice and get answers to your questions on any matter relating to these subjects. 

Secondly, a good antenatal course will set you up with a ready-made tribe of fellow new parents, all expecting their first babies at the very same time as you. That’s why we suggest that all attendees are between such a narrow window of due dates for each course. It’s amazing to have a group of fellow new mums around you who are literally within weeks, days or even hours of the same stage as you and your baby. Let the WhatsApp chats commence…!

At Bump to Cradle we champion a few things that we think are essential in ensuring that our new parents get the best antenatal education and social experience possible from our courses. And we would recommend that any new parent looking to sign up to an antenatal course should check out whether the group they are considering can offer these things. 

Firstly, an experienced and highly trained course leader. At Bump to Cradle we offer classes led by a fantastic range of experts, all highly trained and highly experienced in their fields.

Secondly, that the course content covers all the relevant areas to make you feel well-prepared and supported as a new parent. To give you an idea of the sort of things that might be helpful, at Bump to Cradle our sessions cover:

·      The birth (taught by a midwife), 

·      understanding pain relief and medical intervention (taught by an obstetrician), 

·      looking after your body (delivered by a women’s health physio), 

·      how to look after your newborn (taught by a paediatrician)

·      attending to your emotional wellbeing (taught by a maternal mental health specialist)

·      how to feed your baby (delivered by a lactation and feeding consultant)

·      practical newborn care including nappy changing, sling wearing, establishing healthy sleep routines and more (taught by a paediatric nurse)

Thirdly, that the course can deliver a social support group for you. At Bump to Cradle we never have groups with more than 10 couples attending, so that there is the optimum number of potential new BFFs for both you and your partner. 

We can’t stress enough how important it is for everyone’s wellbeing that you feel well supported by your peer group of new parents in those early newborn days. And this is why we provide a fully organized reunion for every group in a convenient and accessible local eatery in Bristol for all our antenatal groups. Although to be honest, by the time the reunion is held (maybe a month after the last baby of the group has been born), we find that parents are already meeting up most weeks – if not most DAYS – which is exactly what we love to hear.