What are antenatal classes?

Designed especially to help expecting parents prepare for labour, birth and early parenthood, antenatal classes are a worthwhile investment when it comes to feeling practically and emotionally prepared to welcome your new arrival. Classes can cover everything from preparing for labour to relaxation techniques, stress management, pain relief choices, managing intervention during labour and what to expect if you have a C-section, as well as the physical and emotional and lifestyle changes you’ll experience when you become a new mum, plus lots more.

Who should attend?

Whether it’s your first baby or you’re a seasoned pro looking for a refresher in certain areas, there is a wide variety of classes available to suit different needs and circumstances.

Any other benefits?

Attending antenatal classes means you’ll meet lots of other couples in the same boat, so it’s a great way to meet others expecting babies around the same time. Essentially, it’s an easy way to form your mum squad ahead of time.

1 Great for first-time parents: Babies and Beyond

Comprehensive group workshops by Babies and Beyond are offered in English and French and are divided into five sections covering a wide range of topics, from creating your birth plan to more emotional issues such as understanding the changes that happen to your body after the birth. There is a maximum of six couples in each workshop.

When to join: When you hit your 30th week.

How much? English workshops cost Dh1,500 per family, while French workshops are priced at Dh1,900 per family.

The details: English workshops, comprising two sessions, are held monthly at The Change Initiative in Dubai. Sessions take place on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm. French workshops are held at The Chiron Clinic in Jumeirah on Monday evenings throughout June with a pause over the summer, resuming in September.

Added extra: The company also runs private one-on-one sessions that can be tailored to suit your needs. These two-hour classes can be held at Babies and Beyond or at your home and cost Dh650.

Book it: Call 04 278 9832 or visit www.babiesandbeyond.ae

2 Great for the latest research-based information: HealthBay Clinic

Run by Dru Campbell and Dawn Jackson – both senior midwives registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council in the UK –this expert-led course is the place to go for all the latest, research-based information on having a baby. Participants will attend once a week for four weeks (four classes in total) and there are usually between eight and 12 couples in each class.

When to join: Ideally women or couples should attend between 28 and 34 weeks.

How much? Dh1,800 per couple

The details: Classes are offered on Wednesday evenings from 7pm to 9.30pm and Friday mornings from 10am to 1pm (the Week Four session finishes at 2pm).

Added extra: The price includes a complimentary one-hour appointment at the HealthBay Well Baby Clinic once your baby is born.

Book it: Call 04 348 7140 or email antenatalclassesdubai@gmail.com.

3 Great for everyone, including VBAC mums: HypnoBirthing by Love Parenting UAE

A targeted antenatal class for couples preparing for a calm and natural birth, HypnoBirthing aims to help you learn how to deeply relax, let go of fear and connect with your natural birthing instincts. Run by Jasmine Collin, HypnoBirthing practitioner and BabyCalm and ToddlerCalm teacher, the new season starts in September and you can either join a Tuesday evening or Friday morning set.

When to join: Ideally when you are 20 to 34 weeks pregnant.

How much? Dh2,200 per course.

The details: The course lasts for five weeks with a total of 15 hours’ tuition. Classes are held at Horizon Kids Nursery in Umm Sequim.

Added extra: Jasmine is available for private consultations and classes from September, from Dh3,500 for 15 hours.

Book it: Call 0501323669 or visit www.loveparentinguae.com

4 Great for emotional support: Baby Senses

The prenatal group class comprises a four-part course for couples, highlighting pregnancy and birth topics, with essential information relating to newborn feeding and sleep. Held in a comfortable setting, the classes are highly sociable. Founder Cecile de Scally, a South African-trained midwife with 25 years’ experience, makes it her mission to offer unbiased, fact-based, non-medical support and advice.

When to join: From 24 weeks, but before you hit 36 weeks.

How much? Dh1,500 for four classes.

The details: Held on Saturdays throughout the year at the Baby Senses Mother Child Centre DMCC in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. There are usually around six to eight couples per class.

Added extra: You can tag on HypnoBirthing classes as needed, which cost an extra Dh1,125 for three classes. Classes for those expecting twins are also on offer.

Book it: Call 04 558 7307 or visit www.babysenses.me

5 Great to brush up on a broad range of topics: Malaak Mama & Baby Care Baby Workshops

These group workshops are run by qualified maternity nurses and take place throughout the year. They are divided into four sections: What to expect – birth and beyond; Your angel is here! What now?; Caring for your little angel; and Caring for yourself.

When to join: From around 28 weeks onwards.

How much? Dh2,000 per couple.

The details: Workshops take place at Malaak HQ in Jumeirah Lakes Towers. Some sessions last two hours while others run for three, depending on the topic. There are usually up to eight couples in a class.

Added extra: All those taking part on group workshops receive a discount on maternity nursing packages and home health visits.

Book it: Call 04 453 8164 or visit www.malaak.me

6 Great for inviting female relatives along for support: Parent Education Classes, Corniche Hospital, Abu Dhabi

A series of four fun and interactive sessions are taught by qualified midwives offering up-to-date, evidence-based information on everything from staying well during pregnancy to caring for and feeding your newborn.

When to join: Women are encouraged to join one class early on to make the most of the advice on coping with minor ailments, discomforts and tips for a healthy pregnancy. It’s recommended that the second class be taken from 28 weeks.

How much? Classes are free of charge for those receiving antenatal care in the hospital.

The details: Classes run every Wednesday evening from 6pm to 8pm and every Friday morning from 10am to noon. There can be between five and 20 people per class.

Added extra: Following the birth, there is an associated Mother to Mother Support Group for mums and babies plus their female relatives. There’s no appointment required and the service is free of charge, too.

Book it: Call 02 696 5166 or email parenteducation@cornichehospital.ae.