top of page

Unlocking the Secrets to a Smooth Pregnancy: The Benefits of Antenatal Classes for Expecting Parents

Group of pregnant ladies
Image via:

We all know how it goes: you get pregnant, and suddenly, everyone is a pregnancy and childbirth expert. Susan says, “Pidgeon bottles are the best”, Sannie says when her kids were babies (like fifty years ago), “They never had car seats”, and Jannie has a horror story about how his wife almost died during childbirth.


So what do you do, and how do you know what's going to be the absolute best for the little miracle growing inside you?


As a mom of two toddlers, I can sympathise. As a midwife, I figured I knew pretty much everything there was to know about childbirth and parenting, but let me tell you, the further along I got – the more apparent it was beginning to become that I didn’t know the first thing about children. I didn’t know anything about prams, bottles or sterilising. I didn’t know how to breastfeed (despite having a really good idea of how to teach others how to breastfeed), and I had no clue how I was going to feel giving birth.


Believe it or not – I, too, attended an antenatal class.


Did you know?


One study conducted in 2016 found that a woman who attended a childbirth education class (also known as an antenatal or prenatal class) or had a birth plan had higher odds of vaginal delivery.


Another study found that women who had attended a prenatal class had less fear of childbirth after completing the class.

What is a pregnancy class?


An antenatal class is a wonderful tool that will allow you to ask the questions you want to know, feel confident in the birth method you’ve chosen and ask an expert the questions you’ve wanted to ask but haven’t had time for.


What topics are covered in a prenatal class?


I think people probably think that during a childbirth class, your instructor is going to tell you whether or not to have a C-section, how to change and bathe your baby, and you’re done. I also think this may be why many expectant parents don’t attend a class. I mean, if your c-section is booked and you’ve changed your niece's nappy once, what more do you need to know?


Prenatal classes cover so much more than these basics.


These classes usually cover everything from conception to birth and life thereafter. Our classes cover:


  • Prenatal nutrition

  • Your pregnancy journey

  • Common conditions and what to do about them

  • Natural birth

  • C-sections

  • Postnatal depression

  • Sex after birth

  • Breastfeeding

  • Caring for your newborn

  • Common illnesses of a newborn

  • Baby vaccinations



What birthing technique is taught in a pregnancy class?


Most prenatal classes cover similar topics, but some instructors are trained in specific birthing techniques. Deciding which class and birthing technique is best for you and your partner all depends on your ideas and goals for your birth. Below we will discuss some of the different types of techniques so you can decide what best suits you.


No specific method or technique


These classes cover labour and birth, including C-section, without focusing on a specific technique. They are widely available and are most commonly offered.


These are the types of classes that we offer here at Mums & Bums.


Lamaze Childbirth Classes


The Lamaze technique for childbirth emphasises labour and delivery as a natural process. Women in labour are advised to freely change positions and respond to their body's signals for pushing. This technique emphasises specific breathing techniques and other natural relaxation methods to cope with pain.


Bradley Method


This method is for mothers who would like an unmedicated birth or a birth with minimal medical involvement. The classes are intimate and encompass nutrition, relaxation techniques for labour and delivery, breastfeeding, and additional subjects. If the Bradley Method is used, your partner plays an active role as a coach.




Hypnobirthing is a technique where a mother makes use of hypnosis to help control breathing and naturally manage pain during labour and birth. You can find Hypnobirthing classes near you, but this labour and delivery method may not work for everyone. It’s also important to book a hypnobirthing class as soon as possible so that you have plenty of time to practice the mindfulness techniques taught in the class.

Moms in a prenatal class
Image via:

Emotional and Mental Benefits of Attending an Antenatal Class


Besides all the knowledge you gain, there are also a whole host of emotional benefits linked to attending an antenatal class.


  • Reducing anxiety and stress linked to childbirth: if this is your first baby, there is usually anxiety linked to the unknown. Having someone explain what to expect and how things commonly unfold can help you reduce the fear of the unknown.


  • Building confidence in yourself and your partner: as the saying goes, knowledge is power. If you know what to expect, you know when something is wrong, and you also have the power to advocate for what you want from your birthing experience (this is also true for a c-section). If you’ve attended a class with your partner, you will also be confident in their decision-making, and you may even feel confident to allow them to make the decisions while you focus on yourself and the coming baby.


  • Support System: prenatal classes are often the place where people make lifelong friends. Imagine making a new bestie who has a child around the same age as yours. Few things are more important in life than having good mom friends.


Who needs to attend a pregnancy class?




There are no hard or fast rules for this one. Usually, my classes are attended by first-time mothers seeking guidance on their new chapter, but I have also had second-time mothers who last had a baby years ago and want a refresher or mothers who have had a baby via a surrogate and just want to find out how to care for their new baby. It’s important to know that no one doesn’t need to attend a prenatal class.


Another common misconception is that prenatal classes are only for couples looking to have a natural birth. This is absolutely not the case. Most classes cover natural birth and c-sections in equal detail. Remember that the birthing method is just one section of the class and that even if you are planning a c-section, you still want to learn about that as well as breastfeeding and caring for your new baby.


When is the best time to attend an antenatal class?


I always feel that the sooner, the better to get the best benefit. When you attend your class also depends on how your chosen provider structures its classes.


At Mums & Bums, I always prefer that the first class is attended as soon as possible because we go over super important tips for coping with pregnancy and birth – the kind of things you would benefit from knowing as soon as possible. The second class I like to do is closer to your due date because we cover caring for a baby in this class, and it's best to do it closer to the end so that all the information is still fresh in your memory.


Remember to book your class as soon as possible because classes often fill up quickly and you don’t want to risk missing a class that was booked too close to your due date because your baby decided they wanted to come a bit earlier.


Choosing the Right Antenatal Class


As I said before, choosing the right class depends on your goals and preferences for birth. It won’t help attending a hypnobirthing class if you’re planning a c-section, for example.


Some tips for choosing the right antenatal class:


  • Research and reviews: Research classes near you, read their reviews, and ask questions about the topics covered in the class.

  • Considerations: Consider class size, instructor qualifications, and location.


  • Timing: Find a class that fits your schedule. Some places offer classes on week evenings, and some on weekends. Find one that will work best for you.


  • Online vs. in-person: Decide if you want to attend in-person or online.




Remember, an antenatal class is for everyone. No one person benefits from a class more than others. Childbirth education helps you feel confident and prepared for life as a parent while providing a valuable opportunity to ask questions.


Where can I find an antenatal class?


If you’re in Gauteng you’re welcome to join in on one of our antenatal classes. At Mums & Bums, our classes are over two Saturdays from 9:00 to 14:00. Usually, they are in person, but we also have a video option if the Saturdays don’t fit your schedule.


If you’re elsewhere, look for an antenatal class that suits your needs in your area.




bottom of page