Why antenatal classes are a must!


The Childbirth Educators’ Professional Forum and Bio-Oil are joining hands this February to empower expectant parents through information and highlight the value and benefits of antenatal classes. 

The theme for this year’s Pregnancy Education Week is "The Perfect Dance of Birth Hormones". According to Lynne Bluff, national co-ordinator of the Childbirth Educators’ Professional Forum, "Birth is like a dance. Knowing the steps allows you to relax and accept the sensations, feel the rhythm and confidently move to labour’s natural beat for a beautiful birth experience."

"There is sound evidence that childbirth education builds confidence, reduces fear and connects pregnant parents with one another for mutual support," says Lauren Macnab of Bio-Oil, the official partner for Pregnancy Education Week. “This is why we recommend that all expectant parents take childbirth education classes.”

Six good reasons to attend childbirth education classes:

1. Expertise

Educators are experienced nursing sisters and midwives who have chosen to specialise in childbirth education because they passionately believe in it. 

2. Knowledge 

You learn about ALL the childbirth options available to you, and the pros and cons of each.

3. Tools

You’ll be given practical tips and techniques – such as breathing, relaxation, positions, massage and visualisation – that can help you have an easier birth. 

4. Confidence

You and your partner will feel more confident knowing what to expect and how to manage it.

5. Be prepared

You’ll be taught about all aspects of pregnancy and birth, from stretch marks to caring for your newborn.

6. Connections 

You’ll meet other expectant parents from your area. Lifelong friendships can be formed.

Bluff says childbirth education should cover all aspects of pregnancy and birth as well as how to care for mom and her newborn baby. "Classes are usually six to eight weeks long and the interaction with the childbirth educator and other pregnant couples in the class is invaluable. Many lifelong friendships are formed."

According to Bluff, knowledge is key to a happy, healthy pregnancy: "If you understand what is normal, you can be relaxed and confident in what you are experiencing, knowing it is simply part of being pregnant."

For example, it’s very common for pregnant women to experience itchy skin. "The skin is the largest organ in the body and any changes can have a huge impact on the mother," says Bluff. "Massaging oil onto the breasts and tummy will moisturise the skin, soothe itchiness and help decrease the chance of stretch marks forming. It’s also a great way to start bonding with the little person inside."

Hospitals and childbirth educators around the country will be giving informational talks during February; contact your local hospital or visit www.expectantmothersguide.co.za for details.

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