Antenatal Classes: The Newbies’ Experience

standard June 6, 2015 5 responses

We went to our first of two antenatal classes this morning (you can read about the second one here). It’s 6 hours in total learning about labour, pregnancy and what to expect when your little one finally arrives. I was in two minds about whether to bother with them, because you know, we have Google now so we practically know everything.

If you aren’t really familiar with what antenatal classes entail (I wasn’t until I got in there) you go with your birth partner if you can and you both get to learn a whole bunch of stuff about what’s going to happen to you both with the birth of your baby. Our class had about eight couples (nearly all of them due before me) who were all expecting their first children. We gave all our details to the course leader and she later e-mailed us with the numbers of all of the couples there. It’s now just a game of parental chicken to see if and when anyone dares contact anyone else (it won’t be me, I’m too awkward for that kind of thing!).

The first part deals with all things pregnancy, which is good to get a bit of sympathy from the men in the room when they go into detail about how ravaged your insides become and why you’re desperate for a pee every five seconds. A little exercise with the men carrying around a shopping bag of baby weight followed and a distinct air of apathy from most of the men, who figured it wasn’t that heavy for the two seconds they all held it.

I’m in the minority in that I’m not frightened of labour, but it was a great experience to know the stages you’ll go through and when you should start bothering your midwife with concerns or calling your chosen place of birth. I learned more than I bargained for with this part in particular, because it turns out I didn’t have a clue. I thought your waters broke and you started screaming, because that’s what happened on some soap once. Apparently, the chances of your water breaking at home are pretty slim – most of us will be well into it by that point and probably in hospital. Needless to say, I felt a bit thick at the end of it.

We were shown how to make it easier with the use of a birthing ball, which again was awesome. I’ve bought one on the advice of my midwife, but did I really know what I was doing with it? No. It’s being used as a footrest whilst on the PC at the minute. Wes was also taught how to massage me whilst I was going through the motions. I wouldn’t normally complain, but doing it in front of everyone else whilst faking a contraction (quite half-arsedly on my part, I must admit) was something I could have done without.

The antenatal class, or at least part one of it, was pretty enjoyable and I feel a lot more clued up for when the little man decides it’s time to come out but what interested me more was the different types of couples that turned up. We were all totally different. Some of the men didn’t want to be there, some of the women looked as though they wanted to be there even less. There was one lady having a planned caesarean (I really tried to hide my look of horror) in about a fortnight’s time and two girls who were having their Mums come in with them as well as their other half! All with different stories no doubt, all with their own ideas of what they wanted and what they were hoping to find out.

For the men, they wanted to know what to do with the baby when it was here. Most of them admitted they were clueless (and in one case, actually terrified) of what to do when a baby cried. Sure, I want to know all of that too, but only Wes really had any interest on how to help me whilst I was in the hospital (awwww!) and it seemed to have slipped the minds of every other bloke in there. That said, there was one who openly admitted that he wasn’t going to help his girlfriend in any way. Even the massage was too much effort. I’m not sure he was kidding.

The girls were allll about the labour. All wanting to know what pain relief they could get, what the stages were, how much it was going to hurt and the options for how to get it over with the soonest.

Me? I wanted to know everything. I had a plan in my head, but I needed to know what else was there in case for whatever reason, my plan can’t go ahead.

Next week, we get to pretend we have a baby already with a doll and various items, such as a carrycot and a car seat. Oh and a nappy… so that’s going to take me straight back to being about three years old with a plethora of plastic children at my disposal.

Perhaps that wasn’t really the right word for it.

Is it worth going to antenatal classes? If you’re first time parents, yes definitely. I’ve heard so much stuff from so many people about what happens, but we are all different and we all have a tendency to play things up or down depending on your audience. This is factual stuff that is really, really good to know. If you’re that way inclined (which we still might be) it’s also a way to instantly find people who are in the same boat as you and will be having a child around the same time you are.

I’ll obviously report back next weekend about the second session, but the first one, whilst a little bit strange and out of my comfort zone, was enjoyable and helped me understand what happens ‘when it happens’ and what to look out for that’s not quite right.

Oh, and we got free sweets. So we’re definitely going back. You can find out how that panned out here.

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