With so much to learn about our upcoming adventure in parenthood, we decided to book on to do an antenatal class. Following on from many recommendations we opted to go for the NCT (National Childbirth Trust) option which was split over 6 sessions and cost around £250, rather than one 8 hour NHS class. Knowing there was so much to take in we decided it was the right decision for us to split it into bite sized chunks so we didn’t leave the course feeling more bamboozled than when we began!
We were really impressed! Our course had a really informal feel to it and we were able to cater it to what we wanted to learn as a group (of 10) at the speed that worked for all of us. We also got to meet some really nice people who we are still in touch with now. I think that’s half the charm of the NCT option; that you get to spend a lot of time with the other people on the course. You get to know them and they go from being complete strangers, to possibly the ones you call in the middle of the night when your baby just wont go to sleep, or when you can’t get them to latch on. You know they will be going through the exact same things at the same time.
NCT have about 50 years of experience, and we found out so much extra info to help us feel prepared for the big day, and of course beyond – when the real work begins! Our teacher was fantastic and made everything very simple to understand whilst including answers to every question or extra piece of info we asked for. We covered numerous subjects, such as;
Complications of pregnancy – Back ache (don’t I know about that one!) breathlessness, heartburn, constipation, headaches, swollen hands/feet, cramps, CONSTANT weeing, sleeplessness (again, one of my specialist subjects) as well as more serious complications such as pre-eclampsia, Group B strep and Obstetric Colestatis.
Birth options – Active, water, positions, Caesarean, assisted delivery, induction, breathing techniques.
Pain “management” (because as it happens not even an epidural is guaranteed to block out all of the pain!) – TENS, water, Pethidine, Meptid, Epidural, gas and air, massage techniques (i.e. not a rough rub leading to pretty much just a friction burn!!)
Feeding – breast/bottle, (with a dedicated girls only breast feeding class) and lots of information about support groups and drop in centres for anyone struggling to breast feed.
Signs of labour – period pains, pressure in bottom, constant backache, waters leaking, a show, bleeding, nesting, diarrhoea etc.
Care for the baby – changing, winding, holding, sleeping, feeding, etc.
Preparation for the birth – what to take with you to the hospital (maybe that suitcase full of clothes isn’t necessary after all?) Getting the essentials bought and set up at home, what to include on your birth plan.
The list goes on and on, we certainly felt that we came away equipped to deal with what was thrown our way on the big day…Well, in theory at least!
It was great for Stu to learn so much as it means he feels in a better position to support me on the day and he knows what to expect. He also knows that when I get to the stage just before I’m ready to push (transition) and I begin to regress into a primitive cavewoman and tell him I’ve had enough and I am going home out via the window, that we’ll possibly have a baby within the hour.
What ever option you go for, I hope you find it informative and helpful. If nothing else, do it for the biscuits 😉