Are you worried about pregnancy? And what should you expect when you’re taking the antenatal class? You’re not alone. In fact, according to a recent study, one in four pregnant women feel unprepared for their antenatal course. Moreover, many of these women feel they need more information or that their instructor is unsure about what they should teach. So, this blog post is designed to help you feel confident and prepared for your antenatal classes.
The Expected Length of the Course
The antenatal course is a series of classes your healthcare provider offers to help you prepare for your pregnancy. The classes cover topics such as nutrition, exercise, and prenatal exams.
The average length of antenatal classes is around one hour. However, this can vary depending on the provider and the specific topic. Some providers may offer shorter classes, while others may offer longer sessions.
Preparing for the Class
To start prenatal care, schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible after confirming that you’re pregnant. During this visit, they will ask many questions about your pregnancy history and provide some basic tests (like a urine test). They will also likely offer you prenatal vitamins and diet advice. Making these visits routine helps ensure that everything is going well.
What to Bring to the Antenatal Class
- Your medical history.
- A list of any medications you are taking.
- Any questions or concerns you have about your pregnancy.
- Your prenatal appointment schedule.
- A list of any birthing classes or programs that you may be interested in attending.
- A copy of your birth plan.
The Different Stages of Labour
If you haven’t had any contractions or if they’re mild, this is the stage where you might feel like you have to go to the bathroom frequently. You might also feel pressure in your lower belly and notice that your breasts are getting bigger. This stage usually lasts around 24 hours, but it can last longer if your labour is slow or sporadic.
Real Labor Begins
At this point, contractions will be happening regularly and getting stronger and more frequent. You might also start to feel a lot of pain in your lower back and hips and your pelvis (the part of your body between your legs). The labour intensity can vary a lot from woman to woman, so keep going if it starts progressing slowly. It can sometimes take up to 48 hours for actual labour, but it often starts within the first 12-24 hours.
The Birth Phase Begins
Contractions will become even more intense and last longer (up to 30 minutes each). You’ll probably be leaking fluids and feeling quite exhausted; however, don’t worry – this phase won’t last long! The birth phase usually lasts around 4-6 hours, but it can sometimes stretch to 12 hours or more.
Breathing Techniques During Labour
- Counting Breaths
In this technique, you count out loud from 10 to 1 while breathing deeply and evenly. This helps to focus your attention on your breathing and reduce stress levels.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
This type of breathing increases oxygen levels in the blood and reduces anxiety and stress levels. To do this, draw air into your stomach first before slowly exhaling it through your mouth.
- Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
This technique helps to decrease muscle tension and increase relaxation. And to do PMR, start by focusing on your breath for 2 minutes. After that, focus on each muscle group in your body for another 2 minutes. Finally, focus on a specific worry or problem that’s been bothering you for 2 minutes. After completing all three tasks, take a deep breath and let it out slowly until you feel relaxed again.
When you’re pregnant, it’s essential to have all the information you can about your pregnancy and childbirth. That’s where the antenatal course comes in.