To book online through our timetable click here

Suffolk Babies is a not for profit organisation and we have a groundbreaking contract with Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust to deliver high quality, free, antenatal education. Our Essential Preparation for Birth Workshops are entirely funded by Suffolk Babies through the profits we make from our paid-for baby and toddler classes. We do not receive any funding from the NHS to run these, thus freeing up the equivalent cost of employing a Midwife every year from the NHS’ stretched budgets. We do this because we are creating a sustainable future for antenatal and postnatal education – one that is not reliant on the whims of different governments or subject to budget cuts. Our aim is to create a self-sustaining model, where everyone is able to access high quality, free antenatal and postnatal education, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances. For more on our mission, see here.

These 4 hour workshops really are your essential preparation for birth, for you and your partner.

What we cover

  • We look at what the body is equipped with to enable it to give birth
  • We look at the three stages of labour and what happens in each stage
  • We consider what the body has to be doing to go into labour and what has to happen to enable labour to progress
  • At the same time, we focus on what the birth partner should be doing to aid that process.
  • We teach breathing techniques and examine the reasons why it is important to remain oxygenated. This is one of the most important things that a father/partner gets out of the workshop – to be able to really work as a team during labour. The mother to be really needs support with the breathing techniques so that she can truly relax during labour and allow the body to work as it is designed.
  • The role of adrenaline is discussed and we look at ways on controlling it. We teach the birth partner how to change the environment to make it as conducive as possible for a relaxed labour and birth.
  • We teach you how to use movement to aid labour and birth.
  • We look at induction techniques and how you can use different tools even in an induced labour.
  • How to recognise when your partner has gone into labour and what to do and when.
  • Which breathing techniques and movements to use at which stage of labour.
  • The characteristics of a woman in labour – how the mother will behave, what to expect and what the father/partner needs to do as a result in the change in behaviour/character that happens during labour.
  • Birth plans and why they are useful and what to include.
  • What to pack in your labour bag.
  • Water birth/home birth and hospital birth – examining all your options.
  • Massage for labour
  • We will discuss how to ask the right questions of your midwife/medical team so that you can make the best decisions for you and your partner during the labour and birth, everyone’s birth is different, what is right for your partner will not be right for anyone else. We are here to empower you so that whatever your journey you will be able to look back at the experience and know that you made the right choices for your family.
  • We will cover what to expect in the days after giving birth – your recovery, and life with a new baby.

What we won’t make you do:

  • We will not make you play team building games
  • We will not make you swap personal information with the people sitting on the chair next door.
  • We will not show you videos of a baby’s head crowning or obstetric equipment – we are not here to train you to become a midwife!
  • This workshop is designed to be embarrassment free!

Why come?

Every aspect of being a parent is about working as a team. Labour and birth are the first part of that journey. Every birthing mum needs the right support during their labour which has to be supplied by the birth partner (normally Dad) as it is now unusual for the same midwife to care for you throughout your labour and birth.

Every Dad feels nervous and uncertain about labour and birth, the same way that every woman feels unsure, the best way to deal with these apprehensions is to ensure that you are well informed and you know what you can do to be the best birth supporter possible for your partner on the big day.

The hormone adrenaline is released when the body feels threatened or scared, this hormone can have a very negative effect on labour, it is likely that the mother to be and the father to be will both produce adrenaline at the onset of labour, hormones can be exchanged through touch and through absorption through the air. One of the most useful things that any birth partner can do during labour is help the mother control their adrenaline release, this can make the difference between a positive birth and a negative experience. If the partner is fearful and producing adrenaline this will affect the mother. The workshop will teach you how to control the release of this hormone.

How much does it cost?

This workshop is absolutely free – when you book in with your midwife you should be given a leaflet which details the free antenatal courses and workshops available to you.

Where and When?

Workshops run in a variety of locations across the Ipswich Hospital Trust area. They take place at evenings and weekends, either as two 2-hour sessions or one 4-hour session.

How do I book a place?

Please book through our Essential Preparation for Birth Timetable.

Do you run Hypnobirthing or Breastfeeding workshops?

No, we don’t. These are run by the Ipswich Hospital Midwifery team. Please contact your Midwife for more information on these. We have put together a page about Breastfeeding Support as we get so many enquiries about it.