If you’re like me and your post code means that you don’t get the free NHS antenatal classes, then the National Childcare Trust (NCT) might offer an alternative. We went for it. 6 classes spread over 3 weeks totalling about 14 hours of class time.
Here’s are my 6 most important lessons from participating:
1. You don’t spend that much time on ‘how to breathe during labour’
Almost every TV programme that features a pregnant couple going to antenatal classes focusses on the ‘how to breathe during labour’ activity. You’ve seen the clip: room full of couples, woman on bean bag, man in backgroud, both are panting like maniacs. In reality, we spent about 5 minutes on this topic. Why? There isn’t that much to know, and quite frankly there is tonnes more interesting stuff to learn about.
2. Most blokes try the gas and air, too
During one class we discussed the merits and demerits of different drugs. It transpires that most birthing partners try the gas and air at some point during labour. Rock on!
3. Breast feeding is more complicated than it looks
After a “how to breast feed” demonstration by the men to the women (I kid you not) with knitted breasts (I kid you not), I have a new found respect for any woman who tries and / or succeeds with this most amazing of activities. It is no mean feet. Congrats to Matt who actually put said knitted breasts up his t-shirt for extra realism. Bravo!
4. It’s the conversations during the break that are the most revealing
During one such coffee break, one of our tribe said he heard a friend of his describing being at the business end during labour (from a man’s perspective) as “watching your favourite pub burning down!” Now that is comedy gold.
Talking of comedy gold, watch this…
5. There are at least 21 ways to sooth a crying baby
Handing the fake baby around the group we managed to conjour up 21 ways to sooth a crying baby. I know, we were obviously a gifted group. Then our NCT teacher pointed out that our ‘passing’ of the baby from one person to the next was less than desirable…possibly fatal in some cases. Oh dear.
6. Sharing stories, fears, anxieties and questions with a group of people in a similar situation to you is very reassuring and supporting in itself
Just being in the class has developed our support group. It’s going to be really cool meeting up again when we are all new parents. That’s where the real value lies in choosing to do an NCT antenatal class.
On a lighter note here’s a funny song about antenatal classes: