By NUH Women’s Centre
Why are mothers advised to attend antenatal classes? What are some of the benefits involved?
First-time mothers are strongly encouraged to attend antenatal classes. Even "experienced" mothers who already have children are encouraged to attend these classes as a form of "refresher". These classes aim to help mothers understand what they may experience during pregnancy and to adequately prepare them for the arrival of their bundles of joy. Many first-time mothers are often taken by surprise at the various choices available in terms of pain relief methods available, infant feeding, and infant care options. The antenatal classes can also help to dispel myths that many new mothers may have with regard to their pregnancy and baby.
Are spouses encouraged to participate in these classes too?
Absolutely! Having the husbands attend the classes with the expectant mothers allow both parents to be involved in the pregnancy, and foster a close bond with the baby even before he or she is born.
What can be expected from these classes? Do we need to prepare for the classes?
In these antenatal classes, mothers can learn about the hormonal and physical changes that may take place during pregnancy, the "milestones" to look out for, and postpartum care. Mothers will also learn about care and even first aid for the newborn.
Some hospitals also teach mothers breathing exercises and relaxation techniques which may help them manage their labour pains. They may also teach infant massages.
Preparation-wise, mothers can read up about what to expect during pregnancy, from books and off the internet. They can also talk to other mothers and find out about their experiences. This will enable them to formulate their own "birth plan", and give them ideas about how they would want to care for their little ones.
What is the duration of these classes? At which stage of the pregnancy is it best advised to start attending such classes?
There are various kinds of antenatal classes available, ranging from the one-hour demonstration type to the six-session comprehensive type. Therefore, mothers should choose the classes that best suit their needs and fit their schedule. They may start attending these classes at any point throughout their pregnancy.
For more information, you may contact the Women's Clinic at (65) 6772 2255 / 2277, or email us at Womens_Clinic@nuhs.edu.sg.
This feature article is contributed by the NUH Women’s Centre, National University Hospital. Please visit www.nuhgynae.com.sg to read more.