Family How To

An easy guide to antenatal classes

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Get the most out of antenatal classes for you and your partner with this simple guide.

It’s highly recommended for expectant dads to attend antenatal classes with the mother-to-be. Completely free on the NHS, they give you great advice about what will happen during childbirth and will give you the confidence to know that you’re doing the best for your partner. Here’s a simple guide to getting the best out of the classes.

How to arrange them

Your midwife, health visitor and GP can all tell you about which antenatal classes are taking place in your area. Not only are the classes free, but you can attend as many as you want. It’s recommended to enquire about your local classes earlier on in the pregnancy since the places on the classes can get booked up early.

When to go

Classes will usually take place once a week and last around two hours. They will generally begin about 8-10 weeks before the baby is due – that’s when your partner’s about 30-32 weeks pregnant. If you’re expecting twins, the NHS recommends starting at around 24 weeks pregnant since twins are more likely to be born early.

What you will learn

Antenatal classes give advice on exercise, diet and even how to give up cigarettes and alcohol during the pregnancy. The better shape your partner’s body is in, the easier the birth will be. You’ll also learn what goes on during the birth. You’ll learn what the best thing you can do for your partner whilst they’re giving birth, as well as after the birth when they suffer from postnatal depression.

Other benefits

Antenatal classes are also a great place to meet other expectant parents. You’ll benefit by sharing your experience with others going through the same thing and could even make friends you’ll continue to see after your children are born.