As part of our preparation for parenthood together, we decided to enrol in the local NCT antenatal classes, which we’re now halfway through. The format of the classes is you have four regular sessions, a breastfeeding session and then one ‘women’s only’ (the rest are both partners) with a catch-up organised after all the couples have had their babies. Generally you group up with people expecting around the same time as you, so in my class everyone’s currently between 27 and 36 weeks, and in total there are seven couples.
We didn’t really know what to expect but thought it would be a good way of getting to know some other couples in the same position as us and also learning some new things (or refreshing in Dylan’s case). The first session we had involved all the couples sharing how the pregnancy had been for them so far and how far along they were before getting into groups and talking about what topics particularly interested us. Anything we weren’t going to cover during the course was answered there and then by the leader Bridget and it also gave us an insight into what we’d know by the end.
Then it was a talk about the process of labour – we all know the baby’s going to come out, but how exactly does the baby position itself for labour, the stages, how far apart contractions are likely to be at each point etc.
Second time round, we were looking again at labour but this time much more about different types of pain relief (gas and air, epidural, water birth, TENS machine, pethidine) and about how to create as relaxing an atmosphere as possible in the hospital (and also have things to occupy you if you go in to be induced, which can take a LONG time). Basically the aim is not to panic and to have plenty of support off your birth partner!
The third session was a focus on all things breastfeeding. I was a bit unsure about this one in advance as it could seem it would be a little dull talking about it for two and a half hours – what is there to say? But it turns out I was wrong! We learned all about how much milk the baby actually needs, positions you can breastfeed in and much much more. Also the dynamic of the group was well established by then so we still had lots of fun and laughs during the evening.
We’ve been really impressed so far by the amount of new stuff we’ve learned, with handy lists and information to take home as well. Bridget’s been amazing at answering everyone’s questions and giving us information backed up by experts. It’s the little things which you don’t think of which have been the most helpful – like buying a different size birth ball if you’re taller, at what stage to go to hospital etc.
Mostly though it’s been much more fun than I thought it was going to be and we’re both really looking forward to the second half!
Harriet and bump x
Shout out to baby’s Aunty Henrietta who’s coming to visit us today!