If you are pregnant, and are not sure of what to expect during labour and delivery, you must join an antenatal class. It will prepare you and your birth partner mentally and physically to have a positive birth experience.
1. Gain confidence for your delivery
As you advance toward your last trimester, you must attend an antenatal class for labour and delivery. You will learn what to expect in labour. When you know what to expect, your anxiety levels are lower and you are better prepared for labour.
You will be taught labour exercises and breathing techniques to manage labour pain. Labour exercises such as bouncing on the birthing ball and all fours reduces the pain associated with contractions in labour. Breathing techniques and visualisation will help you focus on the progress you are making towards the goal of birthing your baby.
2. Prepare your support system
It is very important to be well supported in labour, not only by well trained nurses but also by your birth partner. Your birthing partner can help you prepare by attending antenatal classes with you. Medical studies have shown that having a birthing partner in the labour room reduces the pain associated with labour and the duration of labour.
Your birth partner should be someone whom you trust, and who will physically and emotionally support you during labour. This person could be your husband, mother or mother in law. Your birthing partner will encourage you in labour, help you do exercises or even give you a massage when needed. Amrita Mondal, a happy mother who normally delivered twins, smiles ‘The Antenatal classes made my husband an expert!’ Her husband shares ‘What I liked about the classes, was that it involved vertical learning (from the doctors to us) and horizontal learning also (learning from other expecting couples, and the questions they asked).’
3. Familiarize yourself with the Hospital
You must attend antenatal classes in which your gynecologist and her core members are involved. It is one of the best ways to get acquainted with other doctors, junior doctors and nurses who will assist you during your labour and delivery. You will also be able to meet the hospital staff, the physiotherapist, women health and child health educators and address all your concerns.
The classes will help you understand not only the process when you reach the hospital during labour but also the kind of care you can expect in the labour room. The exercises and breathing techniques you learn in the antenatal class is what you will be encouraged to practice in the labour room.
Even if you are a second time mother, it is always worth the effort to attend an antenatal class again. Durga Kapoor, a second time mother tells us why in this 30 second video: