Antenatal classes – babymoons/antenatal weekends

Babymoons can be educational, covering information on pain relief and breathing techniques in labour to breastfeeding and nappies and/or a pampering weekend

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These classes aim to guide parents towards making their own decisions during pregnancy, birth and those first few weeks after having a baby.

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Independent classes are becoming an increasingly popular choice, due to cutbacks in NHS antenatal class provision. They are often taught by midwives or NCT-trained antenatal teachers, and most classes invite couples to make informed choices through group and discussion work, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

There are, however, three main types of babymoon.

•    Educational, where a teacher delivers a one-on-one talk/course to the couple on what they can expect from the arrival of a new baby.
•    Pampering, where the focus is on having a last luxury fling before the arrival of your baby.
•    Break that combines the two.

Where are they held?

Courses are held at locations all over the country. There are a variety of different packages on offer, from intensive weekend residential/nonresidential courses in luxury hotels to tailor-made sessions in your own home. They can also be held at privately-run antenatal centres. Birth partners are generally encouraged to attend and classes are usually small.

What to expect from a babymoon

The content will vary depending on what sort of class you attend and where it’s held, but the following topics are generally included: recognising the start of labour, what happens to your body, assisted births, pain relief, breathing techniques and relaxation during labour, active birth and the role of the birth partner. Parenting issues are also covered, such as breastfeeding, bathing and nappies.

You may find some of the more luxurious babymoons focus on the pampering side rather than education, with pregnancy and dad-to-be massages and gourmet food.

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Babymoons are best attended when pregnancy starts to take its toll (around seven months) but before you become too big to want to be anywhere but your own sofa. Babymoons range from about £300 for non-residential up to up to £1500 a couple for a luxury night/weekend away. Babymoons usually last two days/a weekend.

Why choose Babymoons/antenatal weekend classes?

If you and your partner fancy some couple-time/time to prepare for your baby’s arrival away from home, it’s a great way to relax and clear your mind of worries. Also, if you like the chance to meet other new parents with a view to making lasting friendships – intensive weekend courses can be real bonding experiences.

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But don’t choose if

You don’t feel comfortable taking in a lot of information very quickly. A weekend crash-course may be a bit too intensive; you may prefer the information spread out over your pregnancy. And then there’s the cost to think about.

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