Antenatal education

Does antenatal education matter?

  • Yes, for mum and for her support person/s

Antenatal education, usually delivered via classes, helps to prepare you +/- your support person for the amazing transition from pregnancy to parenthood.

Antenatal classes

Why does education matter?

Information is power

There is a lot of stuff to get your head around

Classes let you learn in a calm, controlled way

In class you can take notes, ask questions, think and follow up

If you have not received education about what is happening during birth, it can be very scary

Trying to understand what is happening and what your choices are during labour is very difficult

What does this mean in practice?

Understanding the process that your body will go through during birth is empowering. There are a number of physical changes and challenges, anatomy to learn and knowing how baby will transition from inside to outside helps when the time comes. It has been many years since I last consented a woman for an intervention in labour but two stand out.

The first was a young couple who had not attended classes and it was clear to me that neither of them understood where they were in the birthing process nor what their options were. Trying to inform them in-between contractions, when they were stressed, distressed and emotional was a nightmare. I did my best, but I don’t believe they took much in of what I had to say.

The second was a physiotherapist who had run many antenatal classes herself and who understood both the benefits and the risks of intervention. This was a much simpler process, she was in control, knew what her choices were and I was confident that she was making an informed decision.


It’s more than physical

Financial information is available from Money Smart
Practical information Raising Children
Emotional aspects COPE
Free e-newsletter on emotional and mental wellbeing during and after pregnancy Ready to Cope
Need to phone someone? Pregnancy Birth and Baby
Preparing for breastfeeding Australian Breastfeeding Association (including advice line)

A word from the front line….

Let me introduce you to Edwina Sharrock, a Registered Midwife from Tamworth, NSW, whose passion for antenatal education has led to the creation of birthbeat, an online antenatal education course. Edwina started birthbeat after her first child was born, as she realised the gap between what she and her partner knew and what she wished they had known. “I was underprepared and at times I was really scared, even though I was a midwife, once I was experiencing it myself.” I agree completely with Edwina when she says “I can’t tell you what your birth is going to look like, but I can tell that if you are educated and if you understand, it can take that fear away from it.”
If you don’t have easy access to antenatal education, due to where you live or the hours you and your partner work, do look at Edwina’s course. It’s great value and you can qualify for a $50 discount if you use the following code: BBgift50