When expecting moms are researching the array of prenatal class options out there, they often rely heavily on the very limited class descriptions provided by the companies themselves.
But those marketing materials and basic overviews can only tell you so much about what the classes are actually like.
To get a much fuller, deeper perspective on specific courses, there’s nothing more helpful than taking some time to hear first-hand experiences directly from real moms. Moms who have actually completed different types of prenatal classes can provide candid insights into what their classes were really like, why they enjoyed them, and how they impacted their preparation and transition into parenthood.
So in this post, we’re bringing you authentic reflections straight from three women who recently had their first babies within the past year – Sarah, Jenn, and Emily. These brave moms will openly share:
- What initially drew them to choose their specific prenatal class style and format
- Their honest thoughts on the most useful and engaging elements of the classes
- Which key lessons had the biggest positive impact on their birth experience and early days as brand-new moms
Hopefully, their varied perspectives can help guide you in finding the prenatal class instructor and approach that is the optimal fit for your own learning style, priorities, and lifestyle as you embark on this incredible birth and parenting journey!
Sarah’s Prenatal Class Story
Sarah was 32 years old and pregnant with her first baby when she began searching for prenatal classes. She was also building a demanding career that had her working long 80+ hour weeks in a high-powered corporate role with lots of responsibility.
With such limited time outside of work obligations, online virtual prenatal classes seemed like the obvious flexible choice for fitting learning into her hectic schedule. Here’s a look into Sarah’s prenatal class experience:
“Going into my first pregnancy and delivery, I felt this internal pressure that I needed to have it all figured out in advance and show up to the hospital ready for anything. The idea of committing to attend an extensive multi-week in-person prenatal class sounded completely exhausting on top of my intense work schedule. But I also had fears about showing up clueless to the delivery room itself!
The online prenatal class I ended up taking turned out to be absolutely perfect for fitting into my lifestyle. I could watch the video modules on my phone or laptop whenever I had breaks between meetings or while travelling for work. Seeing real footage of other women’s labour experiences and moms practising techniques like breathing and massage brought the content to life virtually.
One of the best parts was that the online platform allowed me to take the entire class together with my husband. We loved re-enacting some of the partner massage, dance, and exercise technique videos together on weekends as a fun way to bond during such a chaotic time! Connecting and learning together brought us closer at a time partnerships often grow distant.
I think my favourite lesson that has stuck with me the most had to do with going into delivery and parenthood with an empowered mindset. The guided visualizations and meditations taught techniques that really helped me stay focused through the most physically and emotionally uncomfortable parts of labour by managing my state of mind. And just knowing there were important biological reasons behind the weeping, mood swings, and feeling completely overwhelmed those first days postpartum helped reduce some fears that I was going crazy!
Now nearly a year later, adjusting to life as exhausted, overwhelmed new parents, my husband and I still reference materials from our online prenatal class and draw on that invaluable foundation it gave us. I’m so unbelievably glad I made the investment in preparing together virtually before our baby arrived!”
Jenn’s Prenatal Class Story
Jenn was 36 years old and pregnant with her first baby when she began evaluating prenatal class options. As a self-described planner and extrovert, she was initially drawn to the social experience and community feel of attending in-person classes with her husband.
“As an extroverted planner by nature, I had always imagined and envisioned myself taking a robust, full in-class prenatal education program with my partner for my first pregnancy. When I eagerly brought up the idea with my husband earlier in my pregnancy, though, he was reluctant and dragging his feet a bit on committing to a multi-week in-person class together. But getting high-quality preparation as a team was non-negotiable for me, so I pressed and made him agree that making time for prenatal classes had to be a top priority!
At first, when we showed up, I could tell my husband felt a little awkward and out of place as the only dad in a room full primarily of pairs of women. But our fantastic instructors in the multi-week course we had chosen did an amazing job making him feel included with humour and support right from the get-go. I also quickly bonded and made connections with several other expectant moms whose due dates were close to mine.
I loved forming those relationships with what became my core village of fellow moms I still lean on today after we’ve had our babies. We text and meet up constantly to share milestones, those first months, concerns and anxieties, or just cry together and know we’re not alone in this transition. I can chat with them about things no one else would understand in my life.
For my very analytical engineer husband, getting to see detailed videos and photos breaking down the anatomy and progression of labour and delivery during our classes finally made it click WHY my body was going to need his full physical and emotional support during the marathon of labour.
And getting to tour the hospital facility ahead of time through our class so we understood the check-in process, environment, policies etc., reduced both of our anticipatory anxieties substantially. By the end, we truly felt equipped, aligned, and ready to tackle the challenges of labour together as prepared partners – all thanks to the dedicated practice and immersive learning environment our in-person classes facilitated.”
Emily’s Prenatal Class Experience
Emily was 38 when she found out she was unexpectedly pregnant with her first baby after many years of working as a professional doula helping other women through labour. But as a very experienced childbirth coach herself, she was hesitant about personally taking any full prenatal education classes.
“With my background as a doula and Lamaze childbirth educator, I rather arrogantly thought I already knew everything I could possibly need to know when it came to the science behind prenatal health and navigating my own delivery. So even though my partner kept suggesting we take formal classes together, I dragged my feet for weeks on actually booking any childbirth preparation for my own pregnancy.
But after we finally bit the bullet and took an accelerated 2-week condensed prenatal class package together later in my third trimester, I’m so incredibly grateful that I approached the experience with humility and opened my mind.
Beyond enjoying getting to refresh my memory on birthing techniques and anatomy that it had been years since I actually had to think about, what I gained most from our class experience was all of the broader life skills and tools that went beyond the physicality of birth – the communication strategies with my partner, the budgeting and financial planning, balancing self-care while adjusting to disrupted sleep, and more.
I also realized that while I could confidently coach other women through labour externally all day long in my doula role, actually having to mentally work through feeling those intense sensations in my own body as the labouring woman stirred up a whole flood of inner fear and anxiety internally. Our class gave me so many invaluable strategies to stay mentally centred and present when the big day came.
And while partners gain immensely from attending and participating in prenatal classes, this was such an eye-opening reminder for me that taking classes is just as essential for expectant moms themselves! No prior experience or expertise can replace first-hand education when YOU are the one giving birth. As much as I thought I knew it all, I’m so glad I humbly dropped my pride and took the time to properly invest in us.”
The Takeaway from These Moms’ Stories
As you can see from Sarah, Jenn, and Emily’s thoughtful reflections, investing in high-quality prenatal classes can provide huge benefits for all different types of expectant parents if you keep an open mindset.
Some common themes in their positive prenatal class experiences included:
- Gaining a sense of community and camaraderie with other expectant parents
- Absorbing the material together with their partners for an egalitarian, bonding experience
- Appreciating how the classes prepared them not only for the logistics of birth itself but also equipped them with essential life skills for the days, weeks, and years of actually parenting a new baby
- Building knowledge in areas outside their comfort zones helped resolve fears and empowered them to tackle childbirth.
- Learning communication strategies, self-care, stress management, and other tools provided lifelong skills beyond the temporary labour and delivery event.
- Feeling closer, more supported, and fully ready to take on parenting challenges after completing classes together
Hopefully, these honest testimonials from three fellow mamas will help you recognize and gain insight into the immense value high-quality prenatal education can offer expectant couples. There are benefits beyond simply learning breathing techniques and hospital logistics – prenatal classes impact so much more when chosen thoughtfully.
If you make informed decisions and choose classes truly tailored to your personal learning needs and lifestyle, they can pay off exponentially through increased confidence, capabilities, and connections for years to come.
For expectant moms and partners seeking the ideal balance of top-notch virtual and hands-on prenatal preparation with a modern approach, be sure to check out the wide selection of courses now offered by the highly-rated UK class provider, The Parents Class. Their carefully designed mixed interactive live-stream lessons and in-person studio class options deliver the perfect hybrid learning experience to equip new families with everything they need to thrive.
Remember, the gift of knowledge you give yourself by proactively investing in comprehensive prenatal learning could set your family up for a lifetime of rewards. Never underestimate the transformative power of thorough birthing education and new parenting preparation through engaging, relevant classes. Listening to fellow graduates is the best guide for discovering what real parents need most from their prenatal course experience.