Antenatal Classes

Sarah - posted on 11/16/2011 ( 24 moms have responded )




It's been discovered recently in the UK that women on low incomes are less likely to attend antenatal classes. In fact, there has been a drop in women attending the free NHS antenatal classes overall.

Did you go to antenatal classes?

I didn't. To be honest, I loathed the idea of sitting with a group of pregnant women and the thought just didn't appeal to me at all. I was also naive enough to think that "it would all come naturally" haha!
I didn't want to take the time off work either (although I think employers have to give you time off to go).

I went to a NCT (National Childbirth Trust, a class you have to pay for) class with my sister when she was pregnant.......and it made me glad I never went myself. It seemed like a lot of cliquey women trying to outdo each other to me.

Soooooo, why do you think lower income families aren't attending, and what are your thoughts on antenatal classes in general?


Frances - posted on 11/20/2011




I think some people do not attend because they do not realize how big a difference good prenatal classes can make. All prenatal classes are not the same; they teach different techniques and have different success rates. As some previous posters have said, some prenatal classes do not make much of a difference. In that case, it is a waste of time and money to attend. Some hospital-run prenatal classes are only to sell you on their routine procedures so you don't ask questions or make waves. The classes are only so you will meekly follow their routine. On the other hand classes such as Bradley method and hypnobirthing make a tremendous difference in the labor experience, c-sec rate, and general outcome of the birth. I used the Bradley method and it made a huge difference. However, these types of classes also require you to practice at home for a couple of months in order to learn how. It is like learning a skill, such as swimming.

Tracey - posted on 11/16/2011




1. Getting time off work - regardless of what they are entitle to, not all employers play fair.
2. Petrol costs / finding public transport that gets you to hospital at the right time.
3. With so many reality shows they probably think they can get all the information from TV. Also the way the classes are portrayed on TV does not make them appealing.
4. Inconvenient times.

I didn't go because I lived in the middle of nowhere 25 miles from hospital and didn't have a car, and the thought of sitting on cushions practising breathing with a lot of strangers was not appealing.


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Nikki - posted on 11/21/2011




We went and it was great, like Emma's it was on a Saturday and free here. There were no breathing techniques for anything cliché. The stages of birth were explained, pain meds, positioning etc. I knew most of it but it was good to get the info all in one go.

Brittany - posted on 11/20/2011




I am a social person and I enjoy the company of others. What I do not enjoy is strangers touching me.

For some reason, and I know I am not the only Mom here, EVERYBODY and their mama wanted to touch my belly, each time. I hated it. I could not stand it. As a matter of fact I once told a woman if she wanted to touch a baby belly to get her own.

These classes would not be for me although, I do believe they offer great support.

Hope - posted on 11/20/2011




I have never been to an antenatal class. I think it would have been beneficial with my first. My last baby the midwife told me I was a natural and the she charges people $250 to learn how to labour like me.

Vicki - posted on 11/16/2011




Classes run by a hospital, midwife or other organisation where you learn about birth, usually including possible interventions, sometimes things like positions and initiating breastfeeding. Can be helpful if you haven't done any other preparation but if you've been reading and regularly talking to a midwife they probably don't contain anything new.

[deleted account]

I didn't go either. I don't think the hospital I birthed at offers classes. It's a small hospital with 2 (now 3) OB's.

However, there is an extremely large woman's health hospital in the city where 90% of the people I know give birth (I was born there), and they offer a ton of classes. About half of my friends have attended. I don't have much of an opinion because I've never been...don't know how much they costs...etc.

However, since having a VBAC, I've suddenly been invited to attend ICAN meetings. Had I known this existed prior to my VBAC, I would have made an effort to attend. :)

Jurnee - posted on 11/16/2011




I never attended any, I was 16 when i had my first and it was too expensive and time consuming, between work and school. My OB gave me lots to read and explained a lot to me. Plus I didnt want to be the only teenager in the class, which I most likely would have been. I had a long labor, but it was a natural birth like I wanted,I think at that point nature just takes over. Now when I had to have a c-section, I wish that had been explained more thoroughly.

Medic - posted on 11/16/2011




There are both free and fee classes here....I opted out of all of them. I felt that my OB prepared me for both of my births and he did. I was 20 when I had my son and everything really did just come to me. I have also been around younger kids my whole life.

Stifler's - posted on 11/16/2011




Antenatal classes here are free. I went to one (they have a whole day class on a Saturday for the long shift workers) when I was pregnant with Logan. it didn't teach me much. it was also boring and we didn't practise any beathing just went through options and fears about birth and wrote down desired outcomes for our children etc. there were no cliques either.

Rosie - posted on 11/16/2011




i think it's probably because of the reason you stated. lower income people would feel ostracised by the cliquey-ness of it all.

i took one as a single parent, my best friend as my "partner" it went well, i thought and i did learn. i appreciated the free cheese and strawberries the most, lol. i was trying my hardest to learn something though so the clique atmosphere was the least of my worries.

Corinne - posted on 11/16/2011




I'm in the U.K and I didn't go to any classes. I planned to have both my babies at home so my midwife (on both occassions) was very thorough. Unfortunately both babies were stayers and had to be induced at the hospital. I also had issues with my boss, he was a prick and wouldn't give me the time off work, because he knew he still had to pay me (even though he could've re-jigged the rota).
I think a lot of lower income families don't go because they're on a minimum hourly wage and they'd rather earn the money while they can?

Laressa - posted on 11/16/2011




thankfully we didn't have to pay. It was horrible. My husband and I cried the whole way home. The videos etc. Reminded us too much of our first pregnancy that we lost. We are not big fans of telling people they have to go.

[deleted account]

We went to a child birth class when I was pregnant w/ the girls. Since I figured there was a good chance I'd have a c-section I didn't think I'd need any of the information, but we went anyway. I was right. ;) I missed the last 2 classes anyway due to bedrest.... even though I started attending at 4 months gestation!

If there is a cost for the class (can't remember if we had one... I 'think' so), transportation issues, or work conflict... I can see lower income people shying away from them more.

Amanda - posted on 11/16/2011




I think taking time off work for both men and women, I know for us personally we lost alot of money by having to take time off to attend.
The classes are expensive, we found it a total waste of money and none of the information we were given was any different or more informative than the information we had been given by and discussed with the midwife.
In the end even that information went out the window. My son was preemie and none of the information we were given related to preemies or what to expect if you deliver early.
Also my labour was nothing like what had been discussed, so when I did go into labour at work I had no idea what was going on, I also had no idea that you could deliver a first baby so quickly, my son was born within 20 mins of my waters breaking.

[deleted account]

probably because they have to work and even if they are legally entitled to take time off as far as i know they aren't entitled to get paid for it. i also think they probably don't know there are free classes easily available to them.
i didn't go to a birthing class, but did go to a class on how to care for a newborn because I was 20 when i got pregnant, had no experience with babies, and figured that since i could only afford 1 i should take this one cuz at the hospital there r nurses and doctors to help you but at home there is no one

Vicki - posted on 11/16/2011




We went, like others have already said I found it pretty useless. I had a midwife who I had talked extensively with and had tonne loads of research. My partner found it more useful as he wasn't interested in reading much and preferred the neatly packaged class.

Minnie - posted on 11/16/2011




Yeah many midwives are so thorough in addressing your concerns and spending one on one time with you during prenatal appointments that they're way more effective than any class.

Becky - posted on 11/16/2011




We went with our first. But it was something like $115.00, so I can see why some families wouldn't go! Although I think you can get subsidized for them if you're low income. I didn't find it overly useful. The information on when to go to the hospital might have been useful, but I ended up being induced. I thought about taking a natural childbirth class this time around, since that's the route I'm going, but I did my last one all natural, without taking a class first, and I'll have my midwife there to support me, so I don't think we'll be putting out the money for that.

Lady Heather - posted on 11/16/2011




Yeah, while my classes were fun they were pretty useless (for me anyways...the husband really felt better after). My first labour was sooooo far off from the average that nothing we discussed even came up. I started at 2 minutes apart contractions and then within an hour I was pushing. None of the stages seemed to really happen. We learned all these techniques for natural pain management and I didn`t really have a lot of pain and what little there was obviously didn`t last long. And then with the latest baby it was a planned c-section so...yeah.

Minnie - posted on 11/16/2011




Here prenatal classes cost a whole heck of a lot. I would imagine that's one factor as to why a lower income family wouldn't attend. It's why I didn't.

Aside from the cost, I also simply didn't feel the need to go to one, and after two births, both very different, I still stand by that, for me- they would have been useless and a waste of money.

Lady Heather - posted on 11/16/2011




If I was single, if would have been a transportation issue. I couldn't have found my way to any of them without the help of my husband's driving. So it could be something like that. They could be working too much or at the wrong times. All of the classes here that you don't pay for are in the evening. If you work nights, you can't go and have to pay for private classes.

We did private classes during the first pregnancy. I didn't really want to bother because we had a midwife who prepared us really well, but my husband wanted to go. I sometimes think those classes are more for the dudes. Anyways, we were the only couple there (yay) and it was just two Saturday afternoons. Turned out to be pretty fun, but I imagine I wouldn`t have liked it if there were a bunch of other people there.

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