We know they’ve been cancelled to keep us, our baby and our families safe, but while we’re already feeling pretty anxious about coronavirus, we really needed those antenatal classes to put our minds at ease.
If you’re one of the many mums-to-be who have had their antenatal classes recently cancelled after being told to self-isolate, you might be feeling little unprepared for your new arrival and wonder what advice and help you’re missing from the class.
We’ve put together some helpful advice to get you by until your classes are back on!
Most NHS antenatal classes will cover things like feeding your baby, taking care of them, looking after yourself during pregnancy and help you start to think about labour. They usually start at around 8-10 weeks before your baby is due as take place every week, lasting around two hours per class. If your class is cancelled, first try asking your midwife if there is an antenatal class DVD that might be helpful for you to watch.
Information about different birthing tools – They may look a little scary at first glance, but these clever tools can help you and your baby out when things get a little difficult. You can learn more about ventouse here and forceps here.
This service offers mums-to-be the option of eight different courses. You can choose individual ones or select the whole set – whichever suits you best. Individual classes cost £12.50 each or the whole course costs £80.
These classes are designed to give parents practical and helpful information for just £19 for the whole course.
Things to consider when selecting an online antenatal course
Who is providing it and is it evidence based?
How long is it? (A 1 hour course is obviously going to provide less information than a 6 hour one!)
What’s the approach and does that sit with your own take on birth? Eg. Is it doctor led and more medical, is it focussed on one type of birth, is it more holistic?
What does it actually cover? (Crucial things to know about would be the physiology of birth, pain relief options- both natural and medical, birth place choices, interventions, and possibly breastfeeding and postnatal info too).
What kind of ongoing support is there? Are you able to ask questions like you would in an in person course?
If your in person antenatal classes have been cancelled, you may well be feeling let down, anxious and concerned about what this means for your birth and life with a new baby. But this absolutely doesn’t mean waving goodbye to a positive birth experience and making friends for life- everyone is in the same boat after all.
Understanding how your body works in labour, the choices that you have available to you and finding tools to remain calm and confident are going to be more important now than perhaps they ever were. Understandably, for many of us, stress levels are high which means we have adrenalin pumping round our bodies! Adrenalin, unfortunately, is not our friend when it comes to giving birth. As the hormone of fear, it puts us in our ‘emergency’ mode, which can delay labour or make things stall, stop or slow down once it starts.
The thing is, Coronavirus lockdown or not, stress has appeared for modern day women in pregnancy for a long time for one reason or other. The good news is there are tons of practical things you can do, tools and techniques you can use in both pregnancy and birth to help aid relaxation, and maintain a sense of calm and confidence and AVOID too much adrenalin production, even during this uncertain time. And actually, time at home if you now find that’s where you, might be a total blessing in disguise- time to nest, learn, NAP (!), tune in to your baby and prep for taking life a little slower once they have arrived.
Have a think about what it is day to day that makes your feel happy or relaxed and start there. A funny movie, a walk with your dog, a warm bath or some gentle exercise. Hypnobirthing tools can add to this list of relaxing ideas enormously, providing you with everything from guided relaxations literally designed to help eliminate fear and anxiety to massage tools and techniques (if you can rope your partner in for an evening back rub); breathing techniques that are incredibly good pain relief for labour, but also for any moments of worry or stress in pregnancy too.
There’s lots of evidence to show that a good antenatal education reduces the chance of intervention in labour and birth and contributes to making it a more comfortable and positive experience for you too. And thankfully, in the age of the internet, you can get this from the comfort of your own home.
Birth-ed have supported 1000s of women prepare for birth both in person and via our online hypnobirthing and antenatal course. And according to them, the women doing the online course have exactly the same amazing results as those who have classes in person. It’s crucial that when it comes to giving birth you feel full informed, remain in control of your choices and feel supported in them. Also, to have tools to help you remain calm and trusting in your instincts. The focus of the birth-ed course is teaching you not simply the ‘what’ may happen, but ‘how’ you can make it great, whatever happens. A positive birth might be a home birth in the water, it might be an induction with an epidural, it might be a caesarean; the key is finding the right birth for you and your baby on the day.
The birth-ed Online Course is a comprehensive combined Hypnobirthing & Antenatal Course and is just £40. For more info visit birth-ed.co.uk/online-course-2
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Lorna is the digital executive and regular contributor for Mother&Baby. After running the Yours magazine website which specialises in content about caring for kids and grandchildren, she has now brought her expertise to the UK's #1 leading pregnancy and parenting magazine. Lorna specialises on a range of topics from potty training and nutrition, to everything and anything that will keep your tot occupied!
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