soon to be father hugging his wife and holding her pregnant belly from behind

By Dr Janice TUNG, Associate Consultant and Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Visiting Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women's and Children's Hospital

You're in week 18 of your pregnancy and millions of questions are still running through your mind, especially if you're a newbie. Knowing what to expect when you're pregnant is essential for any new mum and dad. It's no wonder, then, that antenatal classes are now gaining popularity as more parents-to-be appreciate the wealth of knowledge they get from these classes in preparing them for what lies ahead on their parenthood journey.

Do I Need to Attend Antenatal Classes? Can't I Just "Google" the Information I Require?

do i need antenatal classes

While antenatal classes are not compulsory, they are very beneficial as they provide hands-on experience so you move beyond just reading and knowing, allowing you to be better prepared and informed to make the best decisions for yourself and baby. Many antenatal classes often include a tour of the delivery suite and rooms. The classes also give you the opportunity to ask any questions that may be bothering you, helping you ease your anxieties.

Related: Healthy Start For Your Pregnancy

What Will I Learn?

what will you learn at antenatal classes

Classes typically cover topics such as:

  • Nutrition during pregnancy and after delivery
  • Exercises to help you keep fit and build stamina for childbirth
  • What to expect during labour and birth, e.g. pain relief
  • Breastfeeding, e.g. latch-on methods, breastfeeding challenges and tips on overcoming them
  • Care of your newborn including how to carry, swaddle, change, burp and bathe your baby

You may wish to check with the respective classes on the full list of topics covered.

Related: Healthy Start For Your Pregnancy

What Are the Other Benefits?

what are the other benefits

You get to meet fellow parents-to-be who are also going through the same experience as you. Many new mums-to-be even form their own support groups or playgroups from these classes. It offers a good peer-support system.

Related: Healthy Start For Your Pregnancy

Who Offers Antenatal Classes?

who offers antenatal classes

All 10 maternity/birthing hospitals in Singapore offer prenatal classes and you don't need to be a patient to sign up. It's best to opt for a prenatal course that has a trainer with a medical background and access to updated and relevant medical knowledge.

KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) runs an antenatal programme that starts in the second trimester. It covers three segments: pregnancy, labour and childbirth, and nurturing and parenting. The first two topics are covered in eight one-and-a-half-hour weekly sessions, while the third topic is covered in one three-hour long session. Each class can take eight to 12 couples. For more information and to register for KKH's antenatal programme, please go the Patient Education Centre on Level 1 at KKH or call 63941268.

Related: Healthy Start For Your Pregnancy

When Should I Sign Up for a Class?

when should i sign up for a class

It's good to register early with your choice as some classes are very popular and may have long waiting lists.

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Sources:

The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth 2008, World Scientific

Healthy Start for your Pregnancy 2012, Health Promotion Board Singapore