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Antenatal classes for couples

Antenatal New life lessons

SUMMARY

Labour and new parenthood are emotional experiences for all involved, and it’s important that partners feel just as prepared for labour as the parent who’s giving birth. Antenatal classes offer the perfect opportunity for both parents to discover all they need to know about the arrival of their baby.

It’s only natural that partners want to get as involved as they can when it comes to labour and those first few months of parenthood. One of the best ways to prepare is to go along to antenatal classes.

Not only will antenatal classes help in preparing you for labour, they’ll also give you the chance to discuss any worries, make plans, and meet some of the people who will be looking after you when the big day arrives.

Antenatal classes are a great way to make friends with couples due around the same time as you.

What can you expect to learn at antenatal classes?

The topics covered include1:

  • Health and nutrition
  • Exercise in pregnancy
  • What to expect during labour
  • Options for pain relief
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Information on birth intervention
  • Caring for and feeding your new baby
  • Post-birth health
  • Emotional health during and after pregnancy

It’s important to think about your priorities and book the right antenatal classes for both of you. This might mean that you opt for ‘pregnant women only’ classes with just a couple of partner sessions, or you might prefer to go along to couples classes from the outset.

Whichever classes you go for, remember to book them up early, as spaces can fill up quickly. Sessions are completely free through the NHS, and you can book them as early as your partner’s 12th week of pregnancy. Private, paid classes are available, but it’s often worth talking to your midwife for a recommendation first.

Next Steps

  • Talk to your midwife with your partner about your options
  • Look into the classes run by your local NHS trust
  • Visit www.nct.org.uk to explore private options
  • If your partner is 12 weeks pregnant, you can start enquiring about booking

View references

Hide references

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1. NHS Choices. Antenatal Classes [Online]. 2015. Available at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/antenatal-classes-pregnant.aspx [Accessed August 2015]

Last reviewed: 19th November 2015

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