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Antenatal classes are booked according to your due date and designed to bring you up to speed on your rapidly growing bump, and prepare you for birth and beyond. 

As well as the lifelong friends many mums make during sessions, you will also gain knowledge on breathing, pain relief options and positions you might like to try whilst in labour.

Medical terms are demystified and experts will talk you through what happens after birth including breastfeeding and lifestyle changes in order to equip you emotionally too.

The classes usually run for about two hours a week, for six weeks, from about week 30. Classes are often very popular so make sure you ask your midwife what’s available in your area. The NHS runs free classes at hospitals or children’s and family centres or you can pay to go to your local National Childbirth Trust (NCT) group.

If you are working, you have a legal right to take reasonable paid time off to to attend antenatal classes. This applies as long as the classes are during working hours and have been suggested by your health visitor, doctor or midwife. The baby’s father and/or the mother’s spouse, civil partner or long term partner is also entitled to leave to accompany the mother to antenatal appointments. There may also be evening and one day courses are available if you prefer. Maternity Action has lots of information on your rights at work during and after pregnancy. 

As well as conventional antenatal classes there are a host of options you might also like to try; active birth, hypnobirthing or Parentcraft which are all popular added extras.

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