Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Childbirth or antenatal classes help to prepare you for the birth of your baby, and are a great way to meet other expectant moms and dads. Many lasting friendships are formed this way! You will learn what happens physically and emotionally during childbirth and there will be lots of demonstrations and practice sessions. Antenatal classes are a great way of involving your partner in the pregnancy and preparations for childbirth.
Classes begin at around 28-32 weeks and are usually carried out by a midwife at a time when both you and your partner are available. All the basics are covered, such as labour and birth, when to call your doctor, relaxation and breathing techniques, medical pain relief, Caesareans and caring for your newborn.
Most women choose the hospital route which gives instant access to life-saving technology, resident specialists, partial or total pain relief and the option of a Caesarean section if necessary.
Questions to ask at the hospital:
  • Can I move around during labour or do I have to stay in bed?
  • How many people can I have in the labour ward to support me?
  • Do you have a birthing pool and midwives experienced in water births? (If preferred)
  • Are you able to do an epidural at any time of the day?
  • What are your induction/Caesarean rates?
  • How long will I stay in hospital and what are the visiting hours?
  • Can my partner visit me outside of visiting hours?
  • What security measures are in place?
Women who choose to give birth at home prefer a familiar environment where they can make their own decisions and avoid medical intervention. Midwives usually supervise home births and have obstetricians to consult if complications occur. If problems arise during labour, the midwife will need to call an ambulance to take you to the nearest hospital. Studies show that home births are as safe as hospital births for healthy women with normal, low-risk pregnancies.
Water births are available as a home birth option and also at some hospitals. A water birth is when you spend part of your labour in a pool of warm water and possibly even give birth there. The warmth helps your muscles to relax and makes contractions easier to handle, while the water supports you so that you can move around more freely. Studies show that water immersion results in lowered blood pressure, quicker dilation, quick descent of the baby and less need for other forms of pain relief.
It’s a good idea to have some idea of what your ideal birth scenario would be. Do you want a natural vaginal birth without any drugs, a vaginal delivery with epidural, or a Caesarean section with epidural? Will your partner cut the cord, and what pain medication would you like access to? Discuss your birth choices with your partner and doctor well before your due date.
Remember that no birth is predictable, so prepare to be flexible. Your baby’s safe arrival is more important than anything else.
The choice is entirely yours, so do some research on both feeding options. Breast milk is best for your baby, especially in the first few weeks after birth, since it contains nutrients and antibodies that strengthen your baby’s immune system. Most women are physically able to breastfeed and learn the trick quite quickly – so if you’re unsure which route to take, why not give the breast a try for a while. You can always change to bottles if it doesn’t work for you – but it’s not so easy to switch to breastfeeding once you have started bottle-feeding. Combined feeding is also a popular choice for moms who have to return to work – your body soon adjusts to breastfeeding before and after work, while your baby has formula during the day. One benefit of bottle-feeding is that your partner and close family can easily share in the feeding. It also allows you to monitor how much milk your baby is taking at each feed.
Consider the practicality of significant items like prams, seats and camp cots before you buy. (Will the pram fit into the boot of your car, and is a very light colour wise for a car seat?) There are many second hand shops where you can find more affordable baby goods – but always be careful to inspect items well before purchasing. There is also a growing number of online companies with very competitive prices on baby goods.
  • For prams, check that there is a waist and crotch strap at the very least, and preferably shoulder straps too. The buckle should be easy for you to operate but impossible for your baby/toddler to undo, and there should be a brake to lock the wheels.
  • You will need a car seat or “snug ‘n safe” style capsule when you take your baby home from the hospital. Capsules can be used from birth until about 13 kg and are fastened to the seat of the car using the car’s seatbelt or a clip-in base. Whether you are using a capsule or a car seat, ensure that your baby’s body and head are well supported and that the seat is installed facing the back of the car for the first few months.
  • If you are shopping for a sling or baby carrier, make sure it provides good head and back support, has wide shoulder straps for comfort and it is easy to put on (and put your baby into) without help.
  • If you are formula feeding, buy larger bottles that will still be suitable for your baby when she is older. Ensure that you get the right size teat for her age. There are many options – silicone, latex, anti-colic (which minimise the amount of air swallowed while feeding) and orthodontic (which mimic the breast and are a good choice if you plan to mix breast and bottle-feeding). A breast pump can help you express milk for future use, which is useful if you are working or would like your partner to help with the feeding.
  • You can buy a changing table or you can use a padded, wipe-clean changing mat on a waist-high surface. You don’t need to buy a special baby bath but it does make bathing your baby easier. A care mat or a foldable changing mat that fits into your baby bag is great for when you are out with your baby.
  • There is a huge variety of clothing available and you will probably be given a fair amount from friends and family. Avoid buying too much newborn clothing as this is a popular choice for baby shower gifts, and your baby will grow out of it very quickly. Make sure you have enough vests, a warm hat/beanie for the winter and a sun hat for the summer.
  • Bottles and teats (2 if breastfeeding, 6 if bottle feeding)
  • Sterilising tablets/liquid or steriliser unit
  • Bottle brush
  • CHERUBS Super Absorbent Nursing Pads (if breastfeeding)
  • Breast pump (if breastfeeding – optional)
  • Disposable Bibs
  • Changing table/mat
  • CHERUBS Newborn Wipes
  • CHERUBS Nappy Sacks
  • Nappy rash cream
  • 70 first-size disposable nappies
  • 4 baby grows
  • 2 sleep suits or 2 extra baby grows
  • 4 cotton vests
  • 3 cardigans/jerseys
  • 4 cloth bibs
  • Hat/beanie
  • Mittens
  • Bassinet/cot with mattress
  • 2-3 fitted bottom sheets
  • 2-3 top sheets (optional)
  • 3-4 lightweight blankets
  • A dummy/pacifier if you want to use one
  • Baby bath (optional)
  • CHERUBS cotton rounds
  • Baby toiletries
  • 2 large soft towels
  • Face cloth or sponge
  • Blunt-ended scissors
  • Wear light loose clothing – you will feel warmer than normal because of increased fat deposits and an increased metabolism.
  • Try to get as much sleep as possible and take daytime naps when you can.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Increase your protein intake.