Why are expectant mothers advised to attend antenatal classes? How will I benefit from attending such classes?
First time mothers are strongly encouraged to attend antental classes. The classes will help you understand situations that you may experience during your pregnancy and enable you to prepare adequately for the arrival of your bundle of joy. You will also learn more about the various options available to you in terms of labour analgesia, infant feeding and infant care. These classes will help to dispel myths that you may hear from well-meaning relatives as well as answer the many questions that you may have with regards to your pregnancy and baby.
Do the classes target a specific group of women?
All expectant mothers are encouraged to attend antenatal classes. Even "experienced" mothers who already have a few children will benefit from a "refresher" course. The management of pregnancies and baby care is changing because of new scientific evidence and it will be useful for expectant mothers to attend and update themselves.
Can my husband or family members participate in the classes?
Absolutely! Having your husband attend the classes with you will allow everyone to be involved in the pregnancy and foster a close bond with the baby even before he is born. We definitely encourage husbands to be proactive during these classes.
What can I expect from antenatal classes and what can I do to prepare before attending them?
Antenatal classes range from short one hour demonstration classes to 6-session detailed ones. Choose the classes that suit your needs and fit your schedule.
During these classes, you will learn about the hormonal and physical changes that are taking place in your body during your pregnancy, the "milestones" to look out for, as well as the options available in terms of managing your labour and after care. You will also learn how to care for the newborn, how to feed, sterilise, bathe and even administer first aid.
Some hospitals teach women breathing exercises to use when experiencing labour pains as well as infant massages.
To prepare, you can read up on what to expect from your pregnancy from books and off the internet. You can also talk to other mothers and find out about their experiences. This will enable you to formulate your own "birth plan" and give you ideas about how you would want to care for your little one based on all the advice you have heard. During the antenatal classes, you can then bring up subjects of concern for discussion as well as learn new ways of management.
What is the duration of each class? When should I start attending them? What is the frequency of the classes?
The frequency of the classes vary between medical centres so choose one that fits your schedule and preferably your husband's schedule as well. You may attend them at any point during your pregnancy.