Frequently Asked Questions about Birth and Baby Reality courses.
What is the difference between National Childbirth Trust (NCT) classes and Birth and Baby Reality classes?
Birth and Baby Reality courses are taught independently of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT), and as a private provider we are able to utilise only local teachers who have been running local classes successfully for many years. As we are not a political or campaigning group, we are able to offer unbiased and realistic preparation which supports the individual choices of ALL women and their partners.
The NCT have teachers from outside of the area which does not allow for knowledge of local issues or changes within the maternity service to be shared with their clients.Our educators are proactively involved within University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire and Warwick Hospital maternity units being involved in Maternity Forums, Labour ward forums, Antenatal forums and Clinical Guideline groups. Working closely with midwives and consultants we ensure we are up to date with local practice and any changes we are able to cascade to our client network.
Being independent from the NCT allows us to practice autonomously. Unlike the NCT we are the only antenatal provider in the UK who has been accredited the Department of Health’s initiative ‘The Information Standard’. The Information Standard is a certification scheme for all organisations producing evidence-based health and care information for the public. Any organisation achieving The Information Standard has undergone a rigorous assessment to check that the information they produce is clear, accurate, balanced, evidence-based and up-to-date.
Birth and Baby Reality like the NCT offer postnatal support. We have an active face book presence with over 500 local parents which is used 24/7 by local parents supporting local parents. We also provide a weekly coffee morning offering a breast feeding counsellor service plus continued support from a postnatal doula and the antenatal educators.
Who teaches Birth and Baby Reality classes?
All of our Birth and Baby Reality antenatal teachers undergo a thorough diploma level training with the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). All of our teachers are registered with the Fedant and are required to keep up to date with the developments in their field. Birth and Baby Reality also asks all of their teachers to attend Maternity Forums at local hospitals to ensure that their teaching is up to date with current hospital policies, and that they forge respectful relationships with the midwives that will care for you in labour. Our teachers offer support, information, practical skills and resources to help parents make informed choices for themselves and their babies. Teachers are not usually medically qualified and do not offer medical advice. Parents are asked to take any questions about medical care of mother and baby to their midwife or doctor. All of our teachers have children so have a wealth of personal experience.
What is the difference between NHS, NCT classes and Birth and Baby Reality classes?
Birth and Baby Reality classes are smaller than NHS classes. Antenatal courses last 17 hours so there is time to fully discuss labour, birth experience and the early days with a newborn. There is plenty of time for individual questions, as well as allowing a greater chance for each group to bond. Our coffee mornings, Face book presence and group reunions offer continual support for the transition into parenthood.
Often NHS courses are rolling classes where attendees can start when they like and attend for as many or as few as they feel they need to. Having defined start and end dates of Birth and Baby Reality courses allows the group the chance to grow together and lasting friendships are often formed. Keeping our courses local to you means you are likely to meet other couples that live near to you due at a similar time.
Unlike NHS classes, Birth and Baby Reality classes are not linked to any specific hospital, although we mainly teach women using Warwick Hospital, UHCW, Birmingham Women’s and the Princess Alexandra in Redditch. Our courses are generic in subject matter, and therefore support birth in any hospital or environment. Our teachers will be able to give you full details of the range of hospital and homebirth options open to you locally.
Can partners, family or a friend attend classes too?
Yes! The courses are aimed at couples to encourage partners to get involved with the pregnancy and to understand what will happen in labour. We do realise that not everyone has a partner and we encourage you to have someone to support you through your labour and birth. Attendance is not compulsory and not all partners or birth supporters make it to all of the sessions. Some sessions within course are pre-planned as women only sessions.
I’m a single mother to be. Will I feel uncomfortable in a childbirth class full of couples?
We hope not! In our classes we have single mothers, same sex couples, older first time parents and couples where one partner already has children. You are very welcome to bring a support person to the classes, for example your mother, a sister or a friend if you prefer.
What role does the dad-to-be have?
Birth and Baby Reality firmly believe that there is nothing more rewarding than preparing for the birth of a baby as a couple. Dads-to-be are encouraged to become aware of the vital role they can play throughout the pregnancy, during labour and birth and in the early days and weeks after your baby’s arrival. We are very used to seeing dads attending the first class because they “are expected to”, but they then return to subsequent classes because they “want to!”. Classes are informative, humorous, and absolutely inclusive of fathers. We also provide a closed face book forum just for the dads.
When should I plan to do a class?
We like to book couples on to courses where the other couples have similar due dates. We find that this helps you to socially network as you are all going through this life changing event together. Ideally we look for a class that takes place between 32 to 36 weeks of your pregnancy and finishes no later than 2 to 3 weeks before your due date. There is usually a spread of 1 month across everyone’s due date.
Do I need to bring anything to the classes?
You do not need to bring anything to the classes. We will provide electronic access to in-depth handouts supporting the class so that you do not need to take notes, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the course. We will provide refreshments at each session to include quality biscuits or cakes, as well as a wide range of drinks. You may wish to bring a cushion along if that will aid your comfort.
How many couples are on each Birth and Baby Reality antenatal course?
There are usually 6 - 8 couples on the full antenatal courses.
Is there any support beyond the course?
Birth and Baby Reality have listened to hundreds of parents who tell us that support after the birth is vital. For this reason we offer regular coffee mornings helping you broaden your social network and make lifelong friendships with like minded people. Our antenatal teachersand breast feeding counsellor will also be at the coffee mornings to discuss any issues you may have. You will be invited to join our face book network where you can post messages seeking advice or offering support to others. On this forum we will remind you of coffee mornings and any other information that will be of use to you.
How much do the classes cost?
Early pregnancy class FREE – places MUST be booked in advance.
Full antenatal course for 17 hours £170.00 per couple. A review course for second / third timers covers 6 hours for £90.00
First Aid courses £45 per couple for 3 hours, babes in arms are welcome.
Can I get time of work to attend classes?
Your employer cannot 'unreasonably refuse' you paid time off to attend antenatal care classes during working hours when you are pregnant. This includes time travelling to and from the appointments. Parent craft and relaxation classes can be included in the term 'antenatal care', but you may find it helpful to show your employer proof from your GP or midwife that states that these classes are part of your care. You should request the time off rather than assume you can take it. Your employer has the right to ask that you produce proof from your GP, health visitor or midwife that you have an antenatal care appointment. If they ask you for this proof and you are unable to provide it, then they have the right to refuse you the time off. You are not under any obligation to make up the 'lost' hours to your employer at a later date.
What happens after my place has been booked?
When we receive your enquiry we will endeavour to confirm your reserved place within 48 hours. You will receive a receipt and course confirmation, which will confirm the dates, times and venue. We will email you a reminder of your course start approximately one week before its first session. All teachers will have details of class participants about one week before the course starts. If you have any concerns or questions please contact us at any time, via email or our bookings clerk.
I can’t get a place on one of your courses. What can I do?
Birth and Baby Reality courses are highly regarded and extremely popular. They are small classes, usually limited to 6 - 8 couples per class. When most women attend their 12 week midwife appointment they usually book straight away. If you are too late, please ask for your name to be added to our waiting list as places do sometimes come up. If our waiting list is too long we will consider running an extra course and let you know as soon as we can. If you do confirm a place elsewhere be sure to tell us so we can remove your details from our waiting list.
If you have any questions which are not answered here, please contact Birth and Baby Reality through our contact form or call us on 01926 731621.
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