Guidance for pregnant women and information on what is happening in their regional unit during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be found on NI Maternity
Different types of classes
Research suggests that women who have attended antenatal classes cope far more comfortably with the labour and birth process than those who haven’t.
Some classes cater for all expecting parents but others may be run for more specific groups, including:
- early / late stages of pregnancy
- minority ethnic groups, particularly if English is not your first language
- teenage mothers and older mothers
- same-sex couples
- single parents
- parents requiring a refresher course
- parents expecting more than one baby
- Pregnancy and maternity rights in the workplace
- The Pregnancy Book (Public Health Agency website)
Subjects covered in antenatal classes
Although there are many different kinds of classes, the topics covered will be fairly similar.
Antenatal classes are about preparing for labour and childbirth and most will cover:
- the physical and emotional effects having a baby will have during, and after, pregnancy
- how to look after yourself and your baby during pregnancy - including exercises and tips on nutrition
- what to expect in pregnancy, labour and after the birth
- the best ways to relax and the pain relief available
- effective breathing techniques
- some medical procedures which may be required
- baby care
Antenatal classes are also an ideal opportunity for expecting parents to socialise with other people in the same situation.
Friendships made at antenatal classes can be useful in early parenthood when new parents can sometimes feel isolated from their social circles because they now have a baby.