Antenatal Classes

NI Direct

Ante-natal classes provide expecting parents with information about pregnancy, labour, giving birth and early parenthood. Ante-natal classes aren’t compulsory but are recommended, and you are entitled to take time off work so you can attend.

Different types of classes

Research suggests that women who have attended ante-natal 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

Subjects covered in ante-natal classes

Although there are many different kinds of classes, the topics covered will be fairly similar.

Ante-natal 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

Ante-natal classes are also an ideal opportunity for expecting parents to socialise with other people in the same situation.

Friendships made at ante-natal classes can be useful in early parenthood when new parents can sometimes feel isolated from their social circles because they now have a baby.

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