Antenatal Classes, Birth, Baby & Family, Latest posts

Wondering about antenatal classes?

I have worked as a pregnancy and birth practitioner since 2002 – as an antenatal teacher and as a birth doula – so I have now worked with thousands of parents and I know pregnancy & birth, as well as the different needs of expectant parents very well.

Labour and birth can be brilliant, it can be euphoric, it can straight-forward, it can become complicated and it can be overwhelming. Good birth preparation goes a long way – by gaining good information you know more about the childbirth process, what helps and what might not; practical skills to focus on being comfortable and staying calm; with discussion and a chance to ask questions so you know more about your options as well as benefiting from an experienced perspective.

I passionately believe that when labour is straight-forward, the contractions are completely
do-able with very little pain relief – good strategies, support and good dollop of realistic preparation is very effective
and there is nothing to fear.

But there are some common factors that can impact how well a woman can work with her contractions – a long labour, a back-to-back baby, anxiety and fear, lack of support and unrealistic expectations can all make labour and birth tougher.

I am a big believer in keeping it simple – movement, gravity, caring support, information, and doing what feels right and saying what you need so that women can feel comfortable and safe. Add to this some robust coping strategies and an assertiveness to ask questions and to continue to gather information as you need it, and you are then better equipped to manage any changes and complications.

It’s about mindset – putting yourself at the centre of your care – so you can say what you need, so you are communicated with and so you continue to feel informed and calm.

And it’s about setting the tone for saying what you need and for communication – using a ‘birth plan’ to say, for example, that you would like support and encouragement to move, to be comfortable and to focus on breathing to be calm, focused and less tense. To be informed and to have explanations of progress, of any concerns and of emergency interventions if they are needed. So you are better prepared for what could be more beneficial for you and so you can work effectively with your midwife.

antenatal classes newcastle tynesideJanine Smith | a specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting

If you have any questions about preparing for the birth of your baby, if you are feeling anxious and in need of more in-depth information, support and reassurance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me – 1:1 sessions and small group courses are available.