From a lack of face-to-face midwife appointments to attending scans alone, there’s no denying the huge impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on millions of women’s pregnancy experiences around the world.
What should be a time of celebration and excitement to be shared with friends and family has, for many, been isolating, with the repeated lockdowns and rule changes meaning that expectant parents and families are missing out on so many rites of passage, including attending antenatal classes.
As much an opportunity to make friends and meet new people as they are to learn about all things labour and parenting, real-life antenatal classes have ground to a halt over the past year, especially due to the increased risk of serious illness for pregnant women in their third trimester. However, many classes have moved online, meaning you can still learn and meet new people from the comfort of your sofa.
Probably one of the most well-known providers of antenatal courses, NCT’s classes are taking place in small groups via Zoom during the coronavirus pandemic. You’ll be joined up with other couples in your area who are expecting around the same time, and receive education on everything from birth plans to breastfeeding, as well as have the opportunity to get to know the others via ‘Breakout Room’ chats too. A few months on you’ll reconnect at a reunion – either online or in person depending on government guidelines – and will hopefully form a network with other mums and their babies. To find a course near you visit nct.org.uk.
The Baby Academy
If you don’t want to spend your baby budget on antenatal classes or aren’t as interested in the social element of classes, The Baby Academy is for you. You can register via Instagram for their regular two-hour Baby Care workshop covering a lot of the practical elements of having a newborn, including changing nappies, bathing and safe sleep, and best of all – they’re completely free.
They also provide a more in depth day-long online course – The Ultimate Antenatal Class – which costs £149 and will also go into detail about baby first aid and Infant feeding, as well as the preparation for labour and birth guidance you would expect. See more at my babyacademy.co.uk.
Blossom Antenatal was set up in direct response to the coronavirus pandemic, and as well as providing invaluable courses for during your pregnancy, they have others that will help you in the early months of motherhood too. We’re talking infant first aid, baby yoga, sleep, hypnobirthing and more. Sign up via blossomantenatal.com.
Bump & Baby Club
Like other courses, Bump & Baby Club’s classes have also moved online, with a free hypnobirthing course available when you sign up for antenatal classes. Just like NCT, they connect you with other parents-to-be in your area, but they describe themselves as ‘modern antenatal classes’ with more of a focus on practical tips, and the bonus of also having first aid included.
Adding to the social element of the course is an indulgent afternoon tea once classes are finished, which can currently be delayed until lockdown is lifted or take place virtually with treats delivered to your home. See more at bumpandbabyclub.com.