In school, I was always a fan of the one-day intensive revision course. When I did my postgrad in PR last year, I couldn’t wait for the two-day revision weekend to cram all of the materials in. I’ve always enjoyed the helicopter view where you can take in all of the key information and see how each part of the puzzle links in. So when it came to deciding on ante-natal classes, the intensive one day option was the one for me.
Costs and location
All hospitals in Ireland offer ante-natal classes free of charge, but I thought that travelling into the hospital for six or eight separate classes would be a bit stressful and preferred to get it done in a day.
So at 31 weeks, myself and himself bundled into the car to the newly-refurbished Stillorgan Park Hotel now the Talbot Hotel Stillorgan to attend a one-day blitz session with midwife Hazel Cazzini from antenatalclasses.ie The course cost €160 and my policy with GloHealth covered €50, and it included all materials, teas, coffees and pastries
Also I have never changed a nappy and I can count the number of times I have held a newborn on one hand. My husband has plenty of nieces and nephews and experience with babies – but not for years, so we were there to be schooled. I have been reading lots of books – but was relying on the course to put it all together for me. However much I read or what class I go to I still feel like I am about to get onto a ship to Mars, and won’t really know what awaits me until I arrive on the strange new surroundings of the maternity ward with my little bundle.
After catching the last twenty minutes of the first Lions’ match and a quick look around the Swan suit sale we began our programme. Firstly Hazel is a lovely and warm facilitator, very friendly but by gosh does she know her stuff! There were about 15 couples, all attending the Rotunda or the Coombe, a mixture of ages and backgrounds but wholly united by our baby bumps!
Hazel worked with us to set the programme for the day, working in a linear fashion from health in pregnancy, to everything you need to know about birth, pain relief and recovery, to breastfeeding and looking after a newborn.
Pros and Cons
- Doing an all-day class can be tiring, even for someone who generally loves doing them, and there can be quite a lot to take in in one sitting.
- However I’m still glad we did the course, as I was starting to panic that I was really unprepared and Hazel gave fantastic overview, and by asking millions of questions I definitely felt reassured and empowered.
- If I had done the classes spread over a few weeks, there is no way that my husband would have made them all, which was also important for me.
- I didn’t need to arrange to leave work to go to numerous classes in addition to all of my appointments so overall I found it reduced the stress levels.
- That said – as the hospital classes are essentially longer they would deliver more in-depth information and allow more time to think and digest the details, so for ladies who have flexible work schedules or want to save some money I’m sure they are a great option.
Best pregnancy books:
In addition to the class, some of the books I have enjoyed reading have included:
- What to Expect When You’re Expecting (does anyone not have this on their list?)
- Becoming a Mother by Kate Mosse
- The much-loved and much-hated (I’m on the fence). Contented Little Baby by Gina Ford
- The HSE have also done a great job with Breastfeeding.ie and https://www.first1000days.ie/