By Emily Boyd
Why do we offer our free antenatal workshop to parents in subsequent pregnancies?
People often tell us that they don’t see the purpose of going to antenatal classes second or third time around, but we think it’s just as important.
One of the reasons it’s important is that things change in the world of midwifery, I mean babies still come out of the same exit, but other things change. For example, just in the last few years the NHS at Ipswich now offer fetal heart monitoring using telemetry machines meaning you can be mobile, off the bed and even in the bath while having your baby’s heartbeat monitored. It’s useful to keep up to date so you know what to expect.
‘I wish I knew this first time around.’
This is something we often hear in our classes. Refreshing your knowledge about labour and beyond can also be therapeutic to your previous birthing and postnatal experience. It’s an opportunity to understand the process with hindsight into that journey. Particularly if there was a part of your birth that you hope will be different next time you can focus on those areas with the teacher.
When you have your first pregnancy you have so much time thinking about and planning for your new baby. But when you have children already it’s sometimes a struggle just to find the time to wee without an audience or have a hot cup of tea let alone having time to think and plan for the next arrival. But going to classes allows you the time for just the three of you. It allows you to give yourself protected time to think about your birth and the early days with your baby.
Finally, I think the fear associated with birth doesn’t dissolve just because you have done it before and got the t-shirt. I think that feeling of anxiety gets worse in next pregnancies. We see mothers all the time worrying about something happening to them and then not being able to look after their children. Fear about leaving their children and how long they will be away from them. And most of all fear of having the same experience as their previous birth, particularly if it was a difficult or traumatic experience.
The Ipswich Hospital maternity department have a fantastic debriefing service for that reason. Often the thoughts of that birth get side-lined during the whirlwind of looking after a newborn. It’s not until the next pregnancy when all the memories of the birth are remembered and that fear escalates. That’s why we think it’s so important to know as much about the birthing process as possible to help reduce the fear surrounding birth to then hopefully improve the possibility of a more positive birthing experience next time round.
To get in touch with the Birth Reflections debriefing service contact 01473 703000
To book onto a free antenatal workshop, however many pregnancies you have had before, click here.