Who needs antenatal classes anyway
...one of those sentences where I try not to explode. I mean, do you even need to train for a marathon?
So you might already know how I feel about this topic by enjoying my sarcasm. Literally, NO doctor on earth will tell you not to train for a marathon if you never run one before, or not to prepare for a french exam if you never had french in class. But hey, let's say expecting parents not to visit antenatal classes because who cares anyway.
Well, I do. And here is why.
Usually, when you are pregnant for the first time, you want your questions answered. You might wonder if the things you are feeling are common, if you should change certain habits or what is going on inside your belly right now.
Also, as the due date approaches, you might want to know how to prepare for your baby, how the birth will go down and what to expect afterwards.
Please don't tell me you weren't thinking of similar questions during your pregnancy. I won't believe you, honestly.
I mean, imagine having a big surgery coming up. I am pretty sure you want to know when it happens and what the doctors will operate on. You might also be interested in the recovery time, or how long you have to stay in hospital.
It is getting more transparent, that preparation is everything, right?
As a midwife, I can only encourage you to take antenatal classes. You can do them online, live or through books. But please prepare.
I can tell from experience, even if you just know some vocabulary about obstetrics already, or roughly are familiar with the process of labour, it comes in handy. While having contractions that will take on your whole energy, it is hard to focus on information or even talks. Also, if you already heard what might or might not happen, you are more prepared for any changes in plans that might occur.
"For far too many women pregnancy and birth is something that happens to them rather than something they set out consciously and joyfully to do themselves."- Sheila Kitzinger
It is also so much easier for us health professionals to help you because you already have an idea in mind how and when we can assist you and your family during each of the phases. Or also what is important to you, like for example, breastfeeding.
You may have already read in one of my other posts about childbirth fear that preparation and gathering professional information helps with childbirth fear according to research. Also your self-efficacy will be strengthened. Some studies even suggest it is more likely you will have fewer interventions because you are well-informed about specific techniques and alternatives.
And who knows, maybe you will stumble across some tips and tricks of midwives or information that will completely change your mind about the plans you had before, like planned c-section or certain medications.
Better be prepared, because power comes through knowledge, right?
How is your experience with antenatal classes? Was access to midwives easy in your area? Did you find it useful?
Stay safe, stay healthy and remember:
It's not pain, but power!
your midwife Sarah