Antenatal Classes: What You Will Learn and Why They Matter

Discover why and how antenatal classes help expecting couples be more informed and confident as they step into the world of parenthood.

Antenatal or prenatal classes, also known as childbirth education classes, serve as an invaluable resource for expectant parents, offering a comprehensive guide to the various facets of pregnancy, childbirth, and early parenthood.

A guiding hand for expectant parents

Expectant parents, particularly first timers, may be unsure of what is to come. Parents-to-be may rely on the advice of others who have gone through the process before. But what others have gone through may not be necessarily the same for each couple.

Here is where antenatal classes can help parents prepare for labour, birth of the baby, breastfeeding, and caring for a newborn baby. They are specially curated sessions designed to equip parents-to-be with the knowledge and skills essential for the transformative journey into parenthood.

Key topics covered in antenatal classes:

  • Recognising the signs of labour
  • When to go to the hospital
  • What happens during the process of labour and birth
  • Pain management during childbirth
  • Induction of labour
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Different kinds of birth and interventions (e.g. normal, assisted birth and caesarean section)
  • Breastfeeding techniques including latching and positioning, and common breastfeeding issues
  • Caring for the baby including bathing, sterilisation of feeding equipment, how to handle a crying baby, common problems of a newborn, and newborn safety
  • Emotional experiences during pregnancy and childbirth
  • Self-care after childbirth
  • Healthy post-delivery diet tips
  • Roles of each partner
  • Bonding with the baby

Partnering for parenthood

Both parents are encouraged to attend antenatal classes together.

Ms Fonnie Lo, head of Mount Alvernia Hospital’s Parentcraft Centre, elaborates more, “This is to prepare both parents for the labour, birth and a smooth transition to parenthood.
It is also an opportunity for parents to discuss their preferences with regards to pain relief, birth method, and baby care.”

Through the classes, couples will know what to expect, how to support and encourage each other after learning together, especially with breathing techniques and massages to stay calm and relaxed during labour.

These classes also encourage non-birthing partners to take on an active role in both the pregnancy and the post-birth care of the mother and baby, fostering a sense of partnership and shared responsibility.

A holistic approach

Antenatal classes are also designed to be as allencompassing as possible to cover the typical issues encountered during the whole journey.

“In recognition of Singapore’s multicultural composition, antenatal classes here are tailored to accommodate diverse groups of prospective parents.” Sr Adeline Kooh, Mount Alvernia Hospital’s assistant director for nursing, explains.

With antenatal classes, expectant parents will be better guided through the uncharted waters of pregnancy and childbirth. The knowledge gained, coupled with the sense of community and emotional support, serves as a confidence booster for new parents, and also lays the foundation for a healthy and confident start to the journey of parenthood.

Why antenatal classes are important

Antenatal classes are invaluable for several reasons.

  • Beyond providing up-to-date insights and information on childbirth and baby care, antenatal classes create a hands-on learning environment, allowing expectant parents to practise essential skills.
  • Antenatal classes address how to manage the emotional changes a new mother may undergo, whether due to post-partum blues or the stress of being a new mother.
  • Parents will benefit from enhanced emotional and physical readiness before the baby arrives, and be more well prepared in making decisions for both mother and child.
  • Classes serve as a forum for asking questions, clarifying queries and addressing concerns.
  • Through these classes, parents-to-be can connect with others on a similar journey and share experiences.

The Alvernia Parentcraft Centre offers a comprehensive childbirth education course, specially developed by a team of parentcraft specialists to help new parents mentally and physically prepare for their childbirth. If you are an expectant or new parent seeking to learn more, do not hesitate to call 6347 6641 or email [email protected] for further information.