I had my first NHS antenatal class on Thursday night and to be honest I was dreading it! The husband is away during the week at the moment as he's already down in Portsmouth having started his Officers course with the Royal Navy (I move down in 5 weeks when I go on maternity leave).
I thought I was going to have to go alone and that it would be an absolute nightmare getting home as I don't have the car. The journey is usually only 15-20 mins in the car but on public transport it can take up to an hour and isn't direct, which was spooking me a bit.
Luckily my friend from work who I'm really close to offered to come with me and then ended up getting her sister to come pick us up which couldn't have been better.
The class had about 10 couples in it. There was another girl, who was lovely and who was married but had a friend with her instead like me as her husband was away too. Another girl had her mum and dad with her and her boyfriend picked her up, which I thought was a bit odd!
The midwife running the class was lovely and really informal which was nice. She started off by making us introduce ourselves, say how far pregnant we were and what our name meant. Most people didn't know what their's meant but I knew mine meant princess and my friend knew hers meant female donkey haha good combo...
She explained that this first class would be all about a normal, straight forward labour. The second would be a tour around the hospital's birthing facilities and more complicated labours, caesareans etc. And the third class would be all about your newborn baby and it's care.
The midwife then split us into two groups and we had to go through a quiz all about labour - straight in at the deep end.
She also handed out loads of information including:
- Things to bring to hospital
- Natural birth info
- Skin to skin info
- Being a birth partner
- Helping yourself in labour
And these beautiful diagrams!
Mine and my friend's fave was this one haha:
We went through the answers to the questions on the quiz which then brought the midwife onto different topics such as the different stages of labour, the different hormone's roles in labour, how your muscles work in labour, what you can do to help yourself and lots of things about your environment in labour. I actually heard a lot of information and things I didn't know, even after all the reading I've done.
Then she explained the importance of moving around in labour and not just lying on a bed trying to give birth. She got some mats out and encouraged us to practice the positions on the sheets which had some of us in stitches!
It was a 2 hour class and we finished on a breathing exercise where she made us breath normally and have our class partner count how many breaths we took. Then we had to really focus on our breathing and breathe fully into our lungs and have our class partner count again. The decrease in how many breaths were taken were pretty significant. I struggled though because I have a cold and can barely breathe through my nose!
All in all, it was much better than I expected, after hearing other people's experience's, so I guess it does really depend what area you're in. It's a pity I'm not actually giving birth in this hospital but what can you do :)
Hope your antenatal classes went/go well!