Feeling nervous about labour and childbirth is normal, especially if this is your first baby.1 This is where prenatal classes can help you.
Prenatal classes are informative and fun. These classes cover a range of topics; the content may vary from one prenatal class to the next, but their ultimate goal is to help you feel prepared for your baby's birth.
Prenatal classes usually cover the following topics:
- Labour, delivery, and postpartum care: You'll find out how to identify the signs of labour, what to expect during labour and birth, possible issues during labour, and procedures such as caesarean section.
- Talk about your fears: You will have the chance to talk about your worries. Your instructor can answer any questions/myths you may have and help put your mind at ease.
- Relaxation and pain-relief techniques: You will be taught breathing and relaxation techniques to help you cope with the pain you may experience during contractions. Prenatal classes also give you information about the different types of pain relief techniques.
- Caring for a new-born: You will get information on new-born care. Common topics include bonding with your baby, breastfeeding, infant safety, diapering, and bathing.
- Physical activity during pregnancy and after birth: You will be given information about exercises to do before, during, and after birth.
- Connect with your partner: Prenatal classes help your partner understand what to expect during labour and delivery and how to support you during labour.
- Meet other expecting parents: Prenatal classes allows you to meet and talk to other parents-to-be. These acquaintances can support you through those first few months with the new baby.
- Refresher classes: These courses are available for parents who have already had a baby and want to review the basics.
- Dealing with your emotions and feelings: Pregnancy and childbirth can be stressful. Some prenatal classes suggest coping strategies to help you deal with your feelings .
When to attend prenatal classes
Prenatal classes are often recommended in the last trimester. However, you may be able to attend classes earlier in pregnancy if you feel that you need more time to prepare yourself and build your confidence.
Best way to find a prenatal class
Many maternity hospitals offer prenatal classes. Ask your gynaecologist about classes available in your area.
- The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. Your pregnancy-Preparing for delivery [Internet]. Available at: https://www.pregnancyinfo.ca/your-pregnancy/preparing-for-birth/prenatal-classes-and-preparing-for-birth/. Accessed on Jun 24, 2020.
- Mayo Clinic. Childbirth classes: Get ready for labor and delivery [Internet]. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20044568. Accessed on Jun 24, 2020.
- Antenatal classes [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/antenatal-classes-pregnant/. Accessed on Jun 24, 2020.
- NHS Ready Steady Baby! Antenatal classes [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nhsinform.scot/ready-steady-baby/labour-and-birth/getting-ready-for-the-birth/antenatal-classes. Accessed on Jun 24, 2020.
- HealthyFamilies BC. Prenatal classes in the third trimester [Internet]. Available at: https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/articles/prenatal-classes-third-trimester. Accessed on Jun 24, 2020.
- A Partner's Guide to Pregnancy [Internet]. Available at: https://www.acog.org/patient-resources/faqs/pregnancy/a-partners-guide-to-pregnancy. Accessed on Jun 24, 2020.