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The importance of antenatal classes (and why they are worth the effort, money and time).

When you imagine what antenatal classes might be like, a whole host of ideas probably pop into your head. I would bet that most of them are wrong. You might have heard from friends that their antenatal classes were all about ‘normal birth’ with no discussion around interventions or pain relief options. Or perhaps you are imagining a strong bias towards breastfeeding from the people who run the course. Over at Grow+Gather we understand that coming to antenatal classes might be a bit anxiety provoking. What if we make you do awkward ice-breaker activities? Or what if we get people to act out something ridiculous or speak in front of the group? Perhaps you’re thinking that you might just read a book or google a few things. Maybe that will be enough to equip you for the journey that lies ahead. Or maybe you are just too busy and dedicating a whole weekend to antenatal classes just doesn’t seem worth it. As a midwife, a mother and an antenatal educator, I am so so passionate about couples attending antenatal classes during their pregnancy. I get that there are reasons why you might not book classes but here are the reasons why I think you should.

1. It’s well worth the effort

I know that weekends are precious. But very soon, you will have a tiny human getting you out of bed pretty early. Our classes start at a very reasonable time of 1100 so still plenty of time to relax beforehand. Whilst you could get loads of helpful information from books - are you really going to buy those books and read them all? What if you end up on the internet amongst a whole host of conflicting information? How will you decipher what’s worth reading and what should just be ignored. There is so much information out there for parents-to-be, it can be pretty overwhelming! Why not let us remove that stress. We have been midwives for years. We know what the research says and what the evidence suggests and we can be there to support you and make decisions that feel right for you as you start your journey into parenthood. I would argue that coming to classes is less effort than having to trudge through all the baloney that you can find on the tinterweb!

2. It’s totally worth the money

Having a baby can be pretty expensive. I get that. It can be pretty overwhelming to work out what is an important piece of kit and where you should be spending your money and what things you can get second-hand or might not be needed at all. In my humble opinion, antenatal classes are worth more than fancy brand new baby clothes or a top of the range travel system. Our classes will give you information, confidence and friendships that a snazzy snuzpod just can’t. New parents are constantly targeted on social media and are sold a myth that if they have this or get that then it will make things easier in some way. You really don’t need very much ‘stuff’ for new babies. What you do need is a solid knowledge of birth and parenting and a network of pals to support you along the way. Which is where antenatal classes come in! All of our workshops are held in gorgeous, comfy venues with small enough numbers that you can ask as many questions as you want but large enough numbers that you will leave with an amazing new group of soon-to-be parent pals. We provide a beautiful lunch each day and as many cups of tea as you need! Plus you will be able to email two practicing midwives at any time after the class if you have questions or need more info about anything. But just a quick note about the finances - if it’s the money holding you back, please get in touch with us! We are more than happy to chat it through and work out a way to make sure you can attend the course.

3. It’s worth the time

Our classes take place over one weekend and we really feel that the weekend format gives you the opportunity to completely focus on birth and parenthood. It allows for loads of social time over the weekend without people having to rush to classes from work or feeling too tired at the end of a long evening. Our classes encourage you to have open and honest discussions with your birth partner. And will give birth partners dedicated time to ask their own questions and think about their role in the birth process. Hailey and I have navigated the health system for years and we understand that it can be difficult to get all the information you need when healthcare professionals are pushed for time. Over the weekend there is plenty of time to focus on the issues that feel important to the group and to each couple; writing birth preferences, chatting through inductions, learning about all types of birth. We cover it all! It also gives you the time to learn practical skills with all the resources and tools to do that. Many expectant couples have never held a baby before their own so why not come to classes and practice changing a nappy or learn techniques for winding in an atmosphere that is super supportive and friendly.

We have classes running in Portobello and central Edinburgh as well as active birth classes, infant first aid and breastfeeding support postnatally. All of our evidence-based classes are run by practicing midwives with no judgement or bias. Our focus is on empowering you to enter into labour and birth without fear or anxiety and with a knowledge and understanding of how the birth process works. We aim to give you the tools and skills needed to leave our classes feeling calm and confident for the parenting journey that lies ahead.

Why not get in touch with us to find out more! We would love to hear from you.

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