Antenatal care (ANC) in simple terms is the care given to a woman during her period of pregnancy until the delivery of her babe. ANC provides a platform for important health-care functions, including health promotion, screening and diagnosis and disease prevention.
Antenatal classes, on the other hand, are classes taking place during antenatal care visits and it provides a platform for enlightening pregnant (young, old, new and returning) women about the antecedents and outcomes of pregnancy. The classes provide an avenue to communicate with and support women, families and the communities at a critical time in the course of a woman’s life.
Here are six good reasons to attend ANC classes (or childbirth education classes):
Expertise: Educators are experienced nursing sisters and midwives who have chosen to specialise in childbirth education. You are sure of medical based information and not folklore.
Knowledge: as a mother, you get to learn about all the childbirth options available to you as well as the pros and cons of each option and much more. Knowledge is power.
Tools: as an expectant mother who desires to have a safe and uneventful pregnancy and child delivery period, you will be given practical tips and techniques—breathing, relaxation, the appropriate positions when lying down, exercising and during the different stages of labour; massage and visualisations—that can help you have an easier birthing process.
Confidence: you and your partner will be more confident knowing what to expect and how to manage it.
Be prepared: you will be taught about all aspects of pregnancy, transition into labour, stages of labour, complications that may arise and how to avoid such, birth and care of your newborn, breastfeeding and its importance to mention a few.
Connections: you will meet other expectant mothers— first-time mothers, as well as experienced mothers who will have positive experiences to share that, will be of benefit, besides, lifelong friendships can be formed.
It may seem as though antenatal classes are a total waste of time but this is false. It empowers you to know how to take proper care of yourself and your baby during this critical time.