Spending time in a room full of pregnant women can be daunting for the average man, but there are good reasons why fathers-to-be need to attend childbirth education classes
The hands-on dad
Today’s dads are more hands-on than ever before – and it is now accepted and expected, rather than unusual, for dads to be pushing a pram, carrying a baby bag and changing a nappy.
Gone are the days where your sole input into pregnancy and birth was the initial genetic materials. Dads nowadays are expected to be throughout – and most wouldn’t have it any other way, even if it is a bit awkward at first.
How antenatal classes benefit dads
Men also tend to be problem-solvers and antenatal classes can be very reassuring, as you learn exactly what to expect and how you can help. Most instructors make sure they offer classes in a time slot that is convenient for working parents-to-be.
Education is key
Fear resides in the unknown, and your CBE instructor should be able to answer all your questions; help you understand the emotions you and your partner are experiencing; educate both of you about your birth options and what will happen during a vaginal delivery or caesarean.
Help dads feel part of the process
This is all vitally important so that you don’t faint at the crucial moment when you first see your baby’s head mushrooming from your partner’s nether regions. Childbirth classes can also help dads feel more a part of the process. Because fathers are not physically pregnant they can sometimes feel excluded and helpless. In fact, nothing is more helpful to a pregnant or labouring women than having a calm, supportive, loving and involved partner to share the incredible joy of their baby being born.
How the birth process works
In the class, you will discover how the birth process works, what to expect every step of the way and especially, how to be strong and supportive for your labouring partner, protecting her dignity and privacy in her moments of vulnerability. You will be the one to help her through the most difficult pushing stages when she feels she simply cannot continue.
When a man who is unprepared comes into the labour ward, his anxiety often escalates into panic as he gets a “crash course” in labour – rather than learning what to expect over several weeks.
When the classes start and what they entail
Classes usually start from around 28 weeks of pregnancy, and usually take place 1 evening a week for 6 weeks.
Highlights include understanding the physiology behind labour, pain management, pain relief options, breathing awareness, relaxation, basic first aid and early hours with your newborn (including breastfeeding).
You will see videos of childbirth, both vaginal and caesarean, so that you know what to expect and what you should look out for as a potential danger.
Classes are relaxed, comfortable and fun. The principles of childbirth classes are the same, everywhere you go and as a couple you are sure to find an educator and class that suits you.