Choosing Antenatal Classes

Antenatal classes are a wonderful way for you and your partner, if you have one, to prepare for your baby’s birth, and the early days of parenting. Many people find that they make life-long friendships in their classes, which also gives their babies a ready-made playmate!

Antenatal classes should be fun and informative and leave you feeling ready for this whole birth thing!

Some of the things you will learn at The Real Birth Company antenatal classes include:

How birth works

Your antenatal class will teach you about how our bodies work when they are giving birth. Most importantly, they teach us how to support our body’s physiology, helping our baby to be born as easily as possible. You’ll learn about how different positions in labour can help – or make things worse. For instance, did you know that for many women, lying on their back is the worst position for giving birth?!

Pain relief for birth

We are so lucky to have access to effective pain relief. In your antenatal class you’ll learn about the different options available to you and their benefits and risks. It is vital to know what these are so that you can make an informed decision about what happens to your body. For instance, did you know that one painkiller that is commonly used in birth, diamorphine, is actually heroin? Information about pain relief is shared without judgement. There is no right or wrong about whether you use it or not, and knowing how it may help you, and what the risks are, means that you are in control of what you do.

Planning different types of birth

Whether you’re planning to give birth at home or in hospital, vaginally or by caesarean, antenatal classes talk you through the options so that you can be prepared for anything! When we don’t know what options we have we don’t know to ask for them. For instance, up to a third of a baby’s blood is in their placenta and umbilical cord when they are born, and this takes a few minutes to move back into the baby. Waiting a few minutes before cutting the cord means that babies are less likely to get anaemia (low iron problems) sometime before they’re a year old. It can also improve their motor skills as toddlers. You can ask for this delay in cutting the cord even in a caesarean birth – you just need to know about it!

Caring for my baby

The things you’ll learn at antenatal classes with The Real Birth Company don’t just stop at birth! You will learn a huge amount about caring for your baby, from how to change a nappy to settling a baby to sleep. Did you know that your baby’s newborn poo will be like thick, black tar? Don’t worry – that only lasts a few days but you’ll learn how to clean it off as well as how it changing colour tells you that your baby is feeding well!

Feeding my baby

Would you love to breastfeed your baby? Does bottle feeding feel right for you? Not sure? Don’t worry! Antenatal classes with The Real Birth Company will help you to make the decision that’s right for you and your family. There’s no pressure either way, you’ll just learn evidence-based information about the pros and cons of different ways to feed your baby, plus important skills such as how to get your baby to breastfeed, and how to safely make up a bottle.

What will my partner learn in antenatal classes?

Partners learn how to support you in your birth. Antenatal classes help partners to become more confident about what their role in the birth is, and they help to make the whole experience more positive. They will also learn about caring for their newborn baby, so they’ll be more prepared for the challenges and joys of becoming a parent.

If you don’t have a partner, you will be hugely welcomed at antenatal classes by yourself. If you want to you can look for classes which are specifically only for pregnant women. These will have single mums, and also mums whose partner isn’t able to attend, such as those who are away with the armed forces.

Some people choose to go to antenatal classes with someone who isn’t their partner, but who will be helping them in their birth. For instance, this might be their mum, sister or a friend.

When do I need to book my antenatal classes?

Antenatal classes can fill up early, so it’s best to book them as soon as you can, ideally before around 20 weeks of pregnancy. The classes usually happen from about 30 weeks, but if you are having twins or more, or if you are at risk of a premature birth, you may wish to plan to do your antenatal classes earlier than that.


Antenatal classes are an important way for you and, if you have one, your partner, to prepare for your baby’s birth, and also becoming a parent. After your antenatal classes you’ll feel more confident and birth and beyond, and you may make wonderful new friends along the way!