Right gents. I was going to include communication and choices but it looked like it would end up being longer than the post about pain, so I have incorporated the other two into future posts.
In this post I will give you a crash course on the options of groups and classes open to you both that will help you prepare for the main event of labour and everything after. At first the idea of classes will seem alien and like all things unknown, unwelcome. But trust me, if you are new to the pregnancy game, you are truly unprepared.
Classes are not just brilliantly educational. Attending them with your Wife or partner will also make you appear more attractive. That’s right, taking an active role in your Wife or partners journey will show her you mean business. Now that’s manly. So be a man. Be proud. Your journey with your son or daughter starts right now, months before they have even entered the world. What makes this even better, is it enables you to start having a relationship with your baby before he or she is even born. And to top off the cake, your relationship with your Wife or partner will be closer and stronger.
The NHS offer free Antenatal classes or there are NCT (National Childbirth Trust) Classes around the UK that may charge a small fee.
these classes will generally teach the following:
- what happens in labour
- coping with labour pain and different kinds of pain relief
- exercising after pregnancy
- your feelings about the birth
- your feelings about becoming a new parent
- caring for you baby
- feeding you baby
Discuss with your Wife or partner if you want to do an NHS course or NCT course as it may be beneficial to you
Sarah and I did not do either NCT or NHS course as we discovered a different type of course which suited us much better. Everyone is different.) enough.
You will not need to go to this for obvious reasons but it would be important for your Wife or partner to attend even before baby arrives as it will allow her to meet other new mums/soon to be mums and veterans of motherhood. Community is an incredibly important aspect of breastfeeding as it enables women to help each other when they find feeding hard as Sarah did. Lack of Community around breastfeeding is probably the prime factor into why breastfeeding numbers are so low in the UK (one of the lowest in the world) so these classes are invaluable if you plan on breastfeeding.
Sarah attends a breastfeeding support group. It enables her to have a community around her and she always comes home happier and informed with stories to tell.
Home birth support groups
Self explanatory really. Home birthing is becoming popular again after a few decades of neglect. I you have a low risk pregnancy then Home birthing is just as safe if not safer than a hospital birth. The added benefits are being in the comfort of your own home which automatically make your labour calmer and therefor safer. Not having to worry when to travel to hospitals and run the risk of being turned away because you haven’t progressed enough. Not having to resort to hospital food. And of course ‘you’ my friend. Having a birth at home will give you an important role which will help you stay at ease and feel more empowered. These groups give you more information on home birthing and you will meet other parents who are either already having a home birth, couples who are thinking about it and want more information and couples who have had home births and are helping by letting you know as much information as they can about their experience.
We did not join a Home birthing support group as we had most of the information we needed from the Hypnobirthing course we did. However if we had known one was available we would have probably attended one.
Social parent groups (bumps and babies)
A social get together for parents and soon to be parents to chat and share experiences with each other. These are great at helping you build a support network especially after your baby is born.
We are lucky enough to have a good support system around us and know many couples with children, but we still may look into these classes.
Positive birthing classes
These classes are design to empower you in group sessions to have a positive birth. This will usually be a group that is inundated with positive birth stories by veteran mums. (There will most likely be at least one yoga teacher, for sure a hypnobirthing teacher, as well as lots of woven fabric clothing) It will feel quite hippyish to an outsider, but I guarantee that your Wife or partner and yourself will leave feeling energized. I absolutely recommend this to first time parents-to-be and anyone else.
Attended. Loved it. Contemplating starting a positive support group myself just because its so impactful.
Hypnobirthing and relaxation classes
Hypnobirthing is a mixture of pregnancy and labour education, self-hypnosis, relaxation techniques and empowerment. This is what Sarah and I chose as the course to do. We went with Kent Hypnobirthing which is run by an awesome mother called Ray.
A quick disclaimer, hypnosis is not the bullshit you see on television where someone waves a watch in front of your face or makes you fall asleep. It is about taking relaxation and breathing to a new level, relaxing to the point where the mind becomes susceptible to suggestion, which is why it is so good at helping reduce pain in labour. Its also why you as the Husband or partner are so important as your voice will be something that help ground your Wife or partner during intense moments in labour.
After the first scan, we went to ‘The Yard’ in Faversham for lunch (which is flipping fantastic by the way). Just before we left, Sarah went to the loo and picked up a card for hypnobirthing from the wall. I can’t remember of it was for Kent hypnobirthing or not but Sarah had heard of hypnobirthing before and she start doing her research.
We found out that Kent Hypnobirthing was putting on a free taster session at Macknade Fine Foods near Faversham (It’s a farm shop and a dream come true for anyone that likes fruit and veg). So we booked up. We met three other couples and it lasted roughly three to four hours. In that time I learnt more about pregnancy and labour than I ever thought possible. It was brilliant. We signed up to the full two day course then and there without hesitation.
In the full course (which was approximately 16 hours) we looked at Labour in other mammals and why as humans we have taken something natural and wonderful and turned it into something cold and alien. We looked at the history of home birthing. Some basic science behind labour. We learnt relaxation techniques, self-hypnosis, breathing techniques, building birth plans, and instilled positivist at every turn. We also had a laugh as well.
I could not recommend Hypnobirthing more highly to any couple. Even if you are having your baby in a hospital. Hypnobirthing helps you learn that even if your birth does not follow your birth plan, it is still the outcome that is important and reaching that outcome is the goal no matter what hoops you end up jumping through to get there. If there is a hypnobirthing course near you and you can afford to do it. Don’t hesitate, you won’t be disappointed. And at the very least, get in contact with the person who runs the course as they may be able to at the very least give you some advice.
The best thing about the course was that it made Sarah and I closer. We now talk and touch more than we used to. Which is really helpful to Sarah and makes me feel like a better Husband which is really empowering.
Next time we will be learning about the magical world of Breastfeeding.