Yesterday we had our one and only Antinatal class. To be honest I wasn't bothered that there was only one class but I think for first timers it is a heck of a lot of information to take in at one session (for us this was an all day affair - 10am to 3pm on saturday).
According to the NHS website... "Antenatal classes (sometimes called parentcraft classes) can help you to prepare for your baby’s birth, and learn to look after and feed your baby. They can help you to keep fit and well during pregnancy, and give you confidence and information. You can learn about the different arrangements for labour and birth, and the choices available to you. This can help you to make your own birth plan. You may also meet some of the people who will look after you during labour."
I guess they fulfilled this criteria but it was a bit of a whirlwind tour of labour, birth and beyond and with the 6 or so couples on the course not knowing each other and not really having any reason to interact meant it was a bit of an awkward morning, not helped by the fact that I was (as usual) the odd one out... only one on her second baby, most pregnant, only one having a home birth, only on who seemed to know anything about labour, only rhesus negative mother, etc etc I could go on... lol!
What I did get out of the day though was a greater confidence that things HAD changed since I had my daughter 8 years ago, the hopsital now seems a bit more woman centred (although I suspect that this still depends upon which midwife you get on the day) and they have impelmented as standard many of the "alternative" techniques which we seen as quirky back when I was last on the labour ward (things like not labouring on your back... they now put less emphasis on getting you into a bed and even have special beds which allow you to be in a more seated, rather than lying possition, even if you have an epidural.
Hubby, (having not been though this before) said that the class was useful in clarifying for him some of the medical jargon and terminology which you come across and which he now has a better grasp of.
As we had already been to the Bumps, Mums & Dad's 4 week course at the Sure Start centre we were pretty up on most of the theory anyways but both felt that with only 5 weeks to go it was almost too late to be doing the classes and they would have better served us at around the 20 - 25 week mark.