Antenatal Classes - Which Is Right For Me?
Firstly, congratulations!!! You’ve reached a point in your pregnancy where the time has come to think a bit more about birth and what lies beyond the exciting months of growing your baby.
You might still be quite early on and want to know what is out there to start feeling more prepared or maybe you are a bit last minute, have been avoiding all thoughts of birth and now realise you probably should give it some thought! Or maybe you are somewhere in between, feeling a bit more comfortable with the idea of pregnancy and that there is going to be a baby needing to come out soon.
The Daisy Foundation classes that I offer can give you all the birth and baby preparation you need but which is the right approach for you?
Once you start researching antenatal classes you will find all sorts out there and some are quite a significant investment of money and time so you want to make sure you choose the best for you.
The original Daisy class and still the most popular is Daisy Birthing. These classes are taught over 6 weeks and are just for the pregnant person to attend, no partners required. It’s 90 minutes a week just for you to relax, switch off, prepare for birth and meet other local mums-to-be. Birthing classes are suitable any time from 14 weeks and lots of people will come to two or even three terms to feel fully prepared before baby arrives.
Birthing classes are for everyone. It doesn’t matter what type of birth you are planning or have, how many times you have done this before or how you are feeling about birth, these classes will give you something to help you prepare to meet this baby. I have been teaching these classes since February 2013 so I see people coming back to classes when they are pregnant for the second or even third time (no fourth timers yet but I’m here when you are ready!) because they really value the preparation the classes gave them previously.
So, what do we do?
Birthing classes bring the best of different antenatal classes, all in one affordable weekly class. Every week we flow through yoga based movement to help ease aches and pains, to prepare the body for birth, to create space for baby to move into their best position and to ensure you feel more comfortable. Focusing on bringing balance and symmetry to the body and space to your pelvic area by helping muscles lengthen and ligaments release means your baby is better able to find the best position for their birth and help you feel more comfortable with more space to breathe and digest!
Our movements flow to a gentle breath alongside calming music in a dimly lit room to ensure that it is a truly relaxing experience every week and one that you can recreate with the breathing, music and atmosphere in your birth room to keep you relaxed and calm. The anchors for relaxation that we create over the 6 weeks are there ready in your muscle memory when the time comes.
Over the 6 weeks we build your antenatal education in bitesize chunks, lots you will learn while we are moving so you understand the purpose of the all the movements we do, and some you will learn as we pause each week for our education time. Over 6 weeks we will cover different breathing techniques for different stage of birth, how our hormones interact and what makes birth happen (or not), what your uterus and cervix are doing, how to use positions and work with your body and baby and what happens when baby is born. We also think a little about medical options like pain relief, induction and interventions. All of this will really help you to understand your options when it comes to birth so you can start to think about what is right for you.
Every class ends with a deep guided relaxation to send you away ready for a good night’s sleep. Bring your pillow, bring a blanket and get cosy as you drift away into a wonderful calm state and we work from fear release through to positive affirmations and visualisations to help you when you birth your baby.
Having a caesarean birth? You are still very welcome to join a Birthing class, it isn’t uncommon at all for people knowing they are having a c-section to come along. The benefits of the movement and relaxation don’t change and although you might not feel all the education is relevant a lot of it is and the breathing techniques are just as valuable for a spinal going in or staying calm while you wait, as they are for a vaginal birth. Plus, you just never know what might happen so it’s all good to be prepared!
If you would like to do some classes with your birth partner (whoever that may be) then you might like to join an Active Birth Workshop or the Daisy Parent course. You can choose to do one of these or do them in addition to your Daisy Birthing classes, they work really well together.
An Active Birth Workshop is a brilliant option if you want a quick way to learn how labour works and what tools you can use to manage it. It is a 3.5 hour session, so just takes half a day of your time and you will feel so much more prepared.
You will learn what is important when it comes to making labour happen and progress as well as all the signs to look out for and what you can do when you spot them.
Then we will talk through a labour journey and add in all the breathing, positions, movements and partner support for each stage so that you will have a toolkit of options and confidence that you know what you will be doing throughout. Additionally you will have a birth partner who knows it all too! Having someone by your side who understands the process and is ready to ask questions, speak up for you and encourage and support you can make a huge difference to your birth. It’s one of the reasons I love teaching you both together, as partners grow in their knowledge and confidence and are ready to be by your side whatever happens.
Maybe you are thinking about what comes after birth? If you want a fully comprehensive antenatal course then Daisy Parent is the one for you. It’s 15 jam-packed hours of content, taught over 6 weeks to ensure you are as prepared for birth, postnatal recovery, caring for and feeding your baby as possible!
We spend around 6 hours talking birth – all the content of the Active Birth Workshop but with more time to cover the more medical side such as pain relief, inductions, instrumental births and c-sections. We don’t shy away from anything so we also talk about whether there will be poo and everything you need to know about tearing (including how to reduce the chance!).
There is so much you can think about before having your baby so we cover packing the hospital bag(s) and what your birth preferences could include and then talk about what happens afterwards. Planning for when you come home and what the postnatal period looks like is often overlooked but we talk about things you can do to make life a little easier and what you might want to do or not do.
There are lots of babycare elements in this course. I bring my dolls along so we can change nappies and clothes and talk through washing and bathing. The dolls get to experience different holds and winding techniques as we practice our skills.
We talk lots about expectations! Society, family and friends will have expectations on what normal newborn behaviour looks like but it isn’t always helpful. By understanding how babies behave and what their needs are you can make your life a lot less stressful. We cover crying, calming and soothing techniques, swaddling, bonding and attachment and, of course, sleep! Their sleep, your sleep and how to make it all work for everyone.
We spend one class talking about feeding your baby. Our focus is on breastfeeding as the stats tell us most people intend or want to breastfeed their baby but unfortunately the stats also show around 80% stop before they wanted to. Giving yourself a headstart with antenatal prep is so helpful, rather than trying to learn everything when you are exhausted and recovering from birth. It’s another time it’s really helpful to have a partner, or someone else who will be helping you, attend so that they are fully prepared with all the information to help you. Again we talk a lot about normal behaviour to set the expectations and, of course, cover positioning and latching at the breast with simple things you can do to help your baby feed more effectively.
Heard stories of breastfeeding challenges? We will cover the common issues and talk through things you can do to overcome them. A bit like birth you will learn how it works so you are better placed to deal with whatever comes your way.
Don’t panic it isn’t all breastfeeding! We will talk about bottles, expressing and formula too.
If you are booking classes with me you get……ME! If you want to call to ask questions before you book you are calling…..ME! This is my business in my corner of the world and I will be the one teaching you and supporting you through this journey.
My role is never to tell you what to do but to ensure that you understand what your options are and offer you support whatever choices you are making. Whichever classes you choose you will leave feeling so much more confident and empowered in your choices and will have lots of questions to ask your midwife or doctor so that you can get it right for you. This is your birth, your baby, your parenting journey and I want it to be the best it can for you.
Want to join us? Get your classes booked and become part of our Daisy community today