Courses of six week evening antenatal classes for couples, suitable to attend from approximately twenty-six weeks of pregnancy onwards.

A great way to get evidence based, accurate, up-to-date information about all aspects of labour, birth and parenting in the early weeks, whilst meeting other parents-to-be due around the same time as you, and making lifelong friends with them.

Preparing for your labour and birth is vitally important to help you feel ready for the big day. Our six week antenatal courses are designed to give you and your partner loads of up-to-date, evidence based information, with which you can make decisions that feel right for you. There is no one “right” way to have a baby, and everybody’s labour and birth story will be different, so knowing what your options are can help you to feel confident and empowered during an event where you may feel you do not have much control.

Our birth preparation courses also give you an opportunity to meet other expectant parents due around the same time as you, and to get to know them over a period of several weeks, in order to form friendships and create a support network that will be vital during the first few months of your baby’s life, and will hopefully last for years. So that the sessions retain a personal and friendly feel, courses are limited to a maximum of eight couples each.

We cover: 

  • ways to help yourself have as straightforward and short a labour and birth as possible, including comfort measures for labour, breathing techniques, relaxation skills, massage strokes and active birth positions

  • considerations around place of birth, and the importance of the birth environment

  • what happens throughout labour and birth - wherever you plan to have your baby

  • when and why assistance might be needed, including induced labours and Caesarean births

  • what are your options if you need some extra help managing the pain

  • postnatal recovery

  • what to expect in the first few weeks with a new baby - understanding their crying, normal newborn sleep patterns, safe sleep practices, changes to relationships and lifestyles, day to day reality

  • feeding choices

  • nappy changing and baby bathing

After each class, you are emailed a summary of everything we have covered that night, along with suggestions for further reading and video clips to illustrate what we have discussed, as well as sometimes being set some work to prepare for the following week's class.

Each course also includes a session to come to with your baby, to consider how the reality of having a new baby compares to your expectations. Once you have booked onto the course, you will be emailed with the date of the session that is most appropriate for your due date, so that you can book it into your diary well in advance. Scroll down for more info on this session. This class is actually the first class in a three week Newborn Mothers course, and you are strongly encouraged to sign up to the rest of the course. We have created this course at the suggestion of mothers who didn't have anything like it to attend, and in retrospect felt it would have been invaluable. If you would like a place on the full course, please email Kirsten on kirsten@birthbabybalance.co.uk.

Click here to read testimonials from previous class attendees.

What sets us apart from other providers?

Sarah's Experience

Having taught over 1,000 couples since she qualified as an antenatal teacher, Sarah has a wealth of experience of delivering courses which are really well designed to meet the needs of  everyone in the group. Also, her experiences of supporting nearly seventy women in labour as a doula (birth companion) sets her apart from other antenatal teachers in the area, as she can draw on those experiences in her teaching, and they give her a deep understanding of the wide range of birthing journeys that women undertake.

Single Sex Sessions

Each antenatal course incorporates one class just for the mums, and another just for the dads. Many birth preparation courses offer women-only sessions, as they can be a great way to cement the friendships that are developing, and give women a chance to discuss sensitive topics amongst themselves that they might feel uncomfortable talking about in front of other people’s partners. We believe, though, that men deserve this chance to bond as a group just as much as women do, and that they might have topics they would like to discuss in a single sex setting - perhaps they are worried about how they will cope during the labour, or the responsibility of supporting the new family financially themselves for several months, or are unsure how the transition into fatherhood will affect them on a practical or emotional level. The men only session is held at a local pub of the men's choosing, giving it a relaxed and social feel. 

Visualisations CD

Each woman receives an audio download or CD of Sarah Boyd's Visualisations for Labour, to enable her to practice relaxation and breathing techniques at home, in preparation for her labour and birth. The more a mum-to-be can practice these skills in advance of labour, the more likely she is to use them, as she will feel confident she knows what she is doing, and how much it can help her. Strong, empowered, confident women are more likely to have a positive birth experience!

Postnatal Class

We also recognise that, whilst it is really important to start to consider the changes that a new baby will bring to your life whilst you are still pregnant, it can be really difficult to understand just how those changes will affect you until your baby is here and you are in the thick of new parenthood. So, as well as having classes in the antenatal course dedicated to considering the realities of life with a new baby, we also include a daytime class once your baby is here (which you come to with your baby), to compare with other new parents whether the reality matches your expectations, to share experiences and to find shared solutions to elements of parenting that may be harder than you expected. Classes are held monthly in Chipping Norton and Milton-under-Wychwood. More details can be found here.

Local Knowledge

We feel it is important for your antenatal teacher to have a good understanding of local policies and practices at the nearby hospitals and birth centres. Sarah and Kirsten both attend monthly meetings at the JR, in the role of User Representatives, to keep up to date with everything that is going on across Oxfordshire when it comes to having a baby. They are also the co-chairs of the Oxfordshire Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) - a group committed to feeding back women's birth experiences to the providers and commissioners of those services, in order to see improvements happening across the service.

 

2019 Course Dates

Burford Courses

AN033, for late February to early April due dates: Tuesdays 8th January - 12th February 7.00 - 9.30p.m. Single sex sessions on Tuesday 5th February: women from 3.00 - 6.00p.m. and men from 7.00 - 9.00p.m. Spaces available.

AN035, for mid April to early June due dates: Tuesdays 26th February - 2nd April 7.00 - 9.30p.m. Single sex sessions on Tuesday 26th March: women from 3.00 - 6.00p.m. and men from 7.00 - 9.00p.m. Only space for one coupe left!

AN037, for mid June to mid July due dates: Tuesdays 23rd April - 28th May 7.00 - 9.30p.m. Single sex sessions on Tuesday 21st May: women from 3.00 - 6.00p.m. and men from 7.00 - 9.00p.m. Spaces available.

AN039, for late July to mid October due dates: Tuesdays 4th June - 9th July 7.00 - 9.30p.m. Single sex sessions on Tuesday 2nd July: women from 3.00 - 6.00p.m. and men from 7.00 - 9.00p.m. Spaces available.

 

Chipping Norton Courses

AN036, for mid April - early June due dates: Wednesdays 27th Feb - 3rd April 7.00 - 9.30p.m. Single sex sessions on Wednesday 27th March - women from 3.00 - 6.00p.m. and men from 7.00 - 9.30p.m. Spaces available.

AN038, for mid June - mid July due dates: Wednesdays 24th April - 29th May 7.00 - 9.30p.m. Single sex sessions on Wednesday 22nd May - women from 3.00 - 6.00p.m. and men from 7.00 - 9.00p.m. Spaces available.

AN040, for late July - mid October due dates: Wednesdays 5th June - 10th July 7.00 - 9.30p.m. Single sex sessions on Wednesday 3rd July - women from 3.00 - 6.00p.m. and men from 7.00 - 9.00p.m. Spaces available.

Price

Six week antenatal course of seven sessions, including an audio download or CD of Sarah Boyd's Visualisations for Labour, plus one postnatal class: £227.00.

 

 

Venues

Chipping Norton courses are held at Glyme Hall, Burford Road, Chipping Norton, OX7 5DZ.

Burford courses are held at The Warwick Hall, St. John the Baptist Church, Church Green,
Burford, OX18 4RP.