What antenatal course should I attend?

If you are looking for a fairly brief introduction and overview of the key antenatal information and would prefer not to spend any money then the NHS classes are a great option. Your midwife should provide you with the appropriate information to attend these.


However, if you are looking for something a little more detailed, with provides a wider range of information and advice about pregnancy, birth and life with your newborn and you’re looking to gain a group of friends who are having babies at a very similar time to you - and you are prepared to pay for it - then you might prefer a private antenatal course. 


The most well-known private antenatal courses are the NCT courses, which have been around a long, long time. Your mum probably did one. Back in the day they were the first of their kind to really become established and have become something of an establishment. However, just like feeding bras, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. NCT classes have a bit of a reputation for focusing a lot of their class time on the birth bit and not a lot on potential medical intervention and not a lot on the practical and emotional effects of new motherhood on a woman and her partner. The NCT teachers, although certainly trained and up to date in their teaching, are not required to be professional antenatal practitioners in any other form. Although we are certainly not disputing their experiences as mothers and NCT teachers, they may not bring professional experience of working with pregnant women, women in labour and newborn babies to the table. And finally, NCT have also suffered over the years by being thought of as rather unbalanced in their approach to feeding your newborn. 


So what’s the alternative? Well, you’ll need to take to Mr. Google to check what other private classes are available in your local area. But you should have a think about the kind of antenatal education that you think will most benefit you and your partner. It is really important to try and get the right fit so that you have a good chance of meeting a tribe of like-minded new parents that you will be enthused about keeping in touch with. If you would feel happier being taught by doctors, then look for a course run by medical practitioners. If you would prefer something a bit more bohemian in its teaching, perhaps a hypnobirthing or antenatal yoga course would be a good option for you. Either way, it’s important to remember that if you are going to pay for a private antenatal course, then you will certainly want to have a good look at who is teaching the classes, to ensure that you are going to have access to a comprehensive, well-balanced, detailed course being taught in an empathetic, fun and friendly way and providing good opportunities to build your new social network of new parents along the way. 


At Bump to Cradle in Bristol, we provide a team of expert teachers, all working professionally as antenatal and postnatal practitioners in one form or another. Including midwives, obstetricians, women’s health physiotherapists, GPs, mental health specialists, feeding consultants, the Bump to Cradle team is on hand to guide and support our tribe of new parents all the way from the later stages of pregnancy through birth and the newborn period.


Read more about the comprehensive and expert-led courses running in Redland and Southville, Bristol on The Course pages and book your spot today. 

Miriam Everson