You’ve had the excitement of the positive pregnancy test and for many people they’ll quickly start thinking about which antenatal course to do…here’s our 5 step guide for choosing a course thats right for you and your partner:
1. IDENTIFY YOUR DRIVERS
Everybody is so very different, picking an antenatal course will be high up on some peoples list and others will be really unsure if they want to do them or not. So, our first piece of advice is to have a think about what your drivers are for attending an antenatal course. If you know why you’re doing it, it’ll help you determine the type of course that’s right for you and your partner. Here are some of the common ones:
- to make friends with other women who’ll be on maternity leave at the same time as me
- to help me learn how I’m going to get this baby out
- so my partner can get his head around the fact we’re having a baby and how he can help me
- so I don’t have to read all the books
- all of the above!
For example, if you’re really looking for a great circle of mummy friends it might be worth considering a course that’s spread over a number of weeks rather than an intensive 1 or 2-day session. It’ll give you more time to mingle and get to know each other than if you’re whizzing through the content at lightening speed. You’re more likely to bond with people if you’ve met each other a number of times. It really can take some people and some groups time to relax into the friendship-making and group-bonding phase.
Develop a list of priorities so you can measure your antenatal course options against them e.g.:
1. Mummy friends – how many sessions are there?
2. Dads really involved – do Dads attend all the sessions or just some?
3. Run by a professional – who teaches the class?
If you know what you’re looking for it’ll save you lots of time in trawling through the options and it’ll really help you find the course that’s right for you.
2. TALK TO YOUR PARTNER
Have a conversation with your partner – you might assume their drivers are the same but their reality is different and they might need something you’ve not thought about. So start the conversation…it’ll be the first of many conversations about decisions you’ll need to make as parents…from baby names, to how much time you spend with your respective families once the baby arrives!
We think it’s SO important for Dad’s to feel involved from the outset. And Dad’s if it’s you reading this – WOW you’re doing an incredible job already!
3. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
The reality is that it can be hard to find and compare antenatal courses. Here are some tips:
- Work out when you need a course to save you time. We generally advise starting antenatal classes somewhere between 28 and 32 weeks. So look at your EDD and get your calendar out and work out what month you’d need a course to start…it’ll help you narrow down your search
- Talk to your friends who’ve had babies – which course did they do, would they recommend it, what was the most valuable part of it, did they enjoy the learning style or was it solely the most expensive group of friends they’ll ever make?! Ask LOTS of questions…people love to help
- Google the antenatal courses that are close to you so you know whats on offer
- Find out what’s available at your local hospital – the content is really good even if they aren’t always as convenient
Look carefully at the website to find out what’s the philosophy and what does the course cover? Is it just the birth, does it include anything about after the birth? Do dads come along to all sessions, some or none? Do you like the way they talk about the courses and the tone of voice on the website? Is it impersonal or does it resonate with you? Pay attention to these things as they’re all an insight into the type of experience you might have.
If you can’t find the answer to a question or the dates don’t work for you, get in touch with them, and take note of if they are responsive or does it take an age for someone to get back to you? It’s always a good indicator about the type of service you’re likely to get and what to expect.
Keep a note of each course date, price and the pros and cons, because otherwise you’ll spend ages going backwards and forwards reminding yourself of all the above and before you know it you’ll have lost hours.
4. TRUST YOUR INSTINCT
Go back to your drivers and trust your gut instinct. It’s a big decision and an emotive one. Go with the course you feel is right for you and your partner. This is also a hugely valuable parenting lesson about trusting your instincts and only you knowing what’s right for your family.
5. BOOK IT
Book the course and make sure it’s in both your diaries, it’ll feel great to get this ticked off your list and it’s something so exciting to look forward to!
We hope thats useful and wish you all the best for finding the perfect course for you! If you’ve got any questions about any of the above or Noobies courses please use the get in touch page, we’d be more than happy to help!