Everything Midwife Antenatal teaches and does is based upon good peer reviewed research.
Here are our frequently asked questions, along with some recent research to back up our opinions.
Why are antenatal classes important?
Many parents chose to attend antenatal classes. We believe that an antenatal class helps parents prepare by making friends (social support), helps parents to prepare for labour and birth, increases knowledge of newborn care, and supports parents to be able to make informed decisions.
“Antenatal education provides an opportunity prior to birth to help women to prepare for an often painful event.”
Clin Psychol Rev. 2009 Nov;29(7):617-22. doi: 10.1016/j.cpr.2009.07.002. Epub 2009 Jul 20.Preparation for pain management during childbirth: the psychological aspects of coping strategy development in antenatal education. Escott D, Slade P, Spiby H
“Brief antenatal education increases mothers' understanding of basic newborn care. Mothers retain this knowledge into the early postpartum period and during early infancy. “
J Perinatol. 2011 Feb;31(2):92-7. doi: 10.1038/jp.2010.108. Epub 2010 Aug 5. Antenatal education for expectant mothers results in sustained improvement in knowledge of newborn care. Weiner EA, Billamay S, Partridge JC, Martinez AM.
“Antenatal care based on partnership encourages women to take an active role in the decisions that affect them and their babies”.
Nurs Stand. 2011 Jan 12-18;25(19):24-5. Bump bonding. Mashta O.
“The transition to parenthood is a time of great change for mothers and fathers, and also lays the foundation for the long-term health and wellbeing of the child. This emphasises the importance of preparation for parenthood”
Community Pract. 2011 May;84(5):36-8. Preparing for parenthood: the role of antenatal education. Billingham K.
“A review of the impact of universal antenatal education found that group based programmes which promote the transition to parenthood by focusing on relationships (between the couple and with the baby), and which are participative and build social support, are most likely to be effective”
Pract Midwife. 2012 Apr;15(4):12-4. Before we begin. The importance of antenatal education. Nolan M.
“Antenatal classes play an important role in educating expectant parents about pregnancy, labour and delivery. They cover a range of topics, but they are failing parents because they do not provide sufficient information to prepare them for abnormal labours and deliveries. They do not do enough to educate parents about what to expect when problems arise and what happens afterwards.”
J Paediatr Child Health. 2012 Sep;48(9):717-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2012.02538.x. Do antenatal classes do enough to prepare parents for when things go wrong? Gregory E.
“This literature review has identified that antenatal education may have some positive effects on women's labour and birth including less false labour admissions, less anxiety and more partner involvement.”
Women Birth. 2013 Mar;26(1):e5-8. doi: 10.1016/j.wombi.2012.09.003. Epub 2012 Oct 12. Does antenatal education affect labour and birth? A structured review of the literature. Ferguson S, Davis D, Browne J
“Fathers now provide more care for their babies and children than they have in the past, and a large body of evidence supports the important role that father involvement plays in determining child and family outcomes. Fathers have also become the primary source of informal support for most mothers and it is now customary for fathers to attend antenatal education in this supporting role. However, many fathers remain unprepared for their personal transition to parenthood and this has important implications for all of the family. Antenatal education is likely to be more effective for fathers when it addresses fathers' needs.”
Midwifery. 2013 May;29(5):474-8. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2012.03.005. Epub 2012 Nov 16. Preparing fathers for the transition to parenthood: recommendations for the content of antenatal education. May C, Fletcher R.
“Participants believed that antenatal education classes would help them to feel more secure as parents and to be better oriented toward childbirth. Men had more positive expectations about the childbirth than the women. The participants mostly wanted help in preparing for parenthood and in learning infant care skills, followed by help in preparing for childbirth”
J Perinat Educ. 2012 Winter;21(1):11-7. doi: 10.1891/1058-1243.21.1.11. Parents' expectations about participating in antenatal parenthood education classes. Ahldén I, Ahlehagen S, Dahlgren LO, Josefsson A.
“Men who suffer from antenatal fear of childbirth are at higher risk of experiencing childbirth as frightening. Childbirth preparation including training as a coach may help fearful men to a more positive childbirth experience.”
Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2013 Aug;92(8):967-73. doi: 10.1111/aogs.12147. Epub 2013 May 10. Fear of childbirth in expectant fathers, subsequent childbirth experience and impact of antenatal education: subanalysis of results from a randomized controlled trial. Bergström M, Rudman A, Waldenström U, Kieler H.
Which type of Antenatal class is right for me?
There are two main types of antenatal class available in the UK, a standard traditional class, and natural birthing classes. Midwife Antenatal runs traditional classes, taught by a Registered Midwife. All types of birthing options and pain relief are taught. Midwife Antenatal is the only private class in the south west taught by a medically qualified teacher, other classes may be taught by people with qualifications, but not medical ones. They actually could not deliver your baby. Natural Birthing Classes are also not taught by medically qualified people. They might be an individual or part of a franchise. Natural birthing classes often teach breathing techniques and visualisation. They possibly don’t tend to teach medical pain relief because they are not medical themselves. They are unlikely to teach about problems during birth, C sections, forceps and other medical interventions. There is an interesting paper which showed that women attending natural birthing classes, did not have a reduced rate of having an epidural, and neither did they report a more positive birth experience. You can read the full paper at : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2759981/
BJOG. 2009 August; 116(9): 1167–1176. Published online 2009 May 27. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2009.02144.x PMCID: PMC2759981 Effects of natural childbirth preparation versus standard antenatal education on epidural rates, experience of childbirth and parental stress in mothers and fathers: a randomised controlled multicentre trial M Bergström,a H Kieler,b and U Waldenströma
Does the Midwife wear a uniform while teaching?
No. We decided in light of the following paper, that it was more friendly to wear normal clothes
“The midwife should wear normal clothes when facilitating group-based antenatal education as a symbol of equality in power relationships within the group. When power relationships between women and the midwife are equalized, women are more able to take responsibility for their health as they are less likely to defer to the 'expert'.”
Int J Nurs Pract. 2011 Dec;17(6):628-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-172X.2011.01972.x. Reflections on the practice of facilitating group-based antenatal education: should a midwife wear a uniform in the hospital setting? Wisanskoonwong P, Fahy K, Hastie C.
Do you teach Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding or Both ?
We teach both. A lot of antenatal classes tend to focus on breastfeeding. We do teach breastfeeding, and there is a lot of evidence showing the benefits of breastfeeding. However, we also recognise that some parents may choose to bottle feed. So we teach both. The last thing we want to do is make a couple feel guilty for making any decision. Sue also provides private visits as a feeding consultant, so if you need help with breastfeeding, or help with bottle feeding, we are there for you.
An interesting paper looking at the language used by Australian midwives when talking about breastfeeding is available here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22541692
Midwifery. 2013 May;29(5):425-33. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2012.02.006. Epub 2012 Apr 27.
We only talk about breast feeding: a discourse analysis of infant feeding messages in antenatal group-based education. Jennifer F, Elaine B, Athena S, Virginia S.
Are Men invited to the breastfeeding session?
Yes. Many antenatal classes exclude men breastfeeding education. We don’t. We believe it’s a decision that both parents need to make together. A study showed that educating dads in breastfeeding increased the rates of breastfeeding at 6 weeks. You can read the paper here : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23603573
J Hum Lact. 2013 Apr 19. Education and Support for Fathers Improves Breastfeeding Rates: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Maycock B, Binns CW, Dhaliwal S, Tohotoa J, Hauck Y, Burns S, Howat P.
Due to lack of space on the website, we have only taken quotes from papers, and not provided the full paper. These are some of the papers which have influenced how we teach our classes, their inclusion on this website if for client’s information only. We are not suggesting than any authors or medical journals are supporting Midwife Antenatal.