Antenatal classes are a great way to find out plenty of information that will help you prepare for labour, birth and looking after and feeding your baby.

As well as having professionals on hand to show you how to stay healthy, they can be an informal and fun environment to meet people going through the same experiences as you. Sometimes solid friendships are founded on these shared experiences. It is also a good chance to find out what equipment you may need for your home to make your new life as a family easier.

Antenatal classes tend to start eight to 10 weeks before the birth but it is advisable to book early in order to secure your place on your preferred course. There are free NHS courses or private ones offered by groups like the NCT, which are usually in smaller groups. Some of these offer more specialised preparation such as active birth classes that employ yoga and relaxation techniques or Bradley Certification classes if you opt for a natural childbirth.

Nowadays the majority of dads attend some antenatal classes too, after all, it is not just breathing exercises but practical instructions to help support your partner and to prepare for your life together with your newborn.

There are also children’s centres that can offer childcare while you go to classes if you already have children under five, as well as advice, support and health services.


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