Our antenatal classes will guide you through your pregnancy, helping you to have a positive, joyful birthing experience. We encourage all parents to participate in the classes, which creates a greater understanding of the physical and emotional journey of pregnancy.
Antenatal Education Classes
Antenatal classes help to build self-confidence by encouraging expectant parents to learn about the many aspects of pregnancy. Our relaxed classes involve interactive discussions and demonstrations. They help parents to become more involved in the pregnancy. Also, they help to calm fears by explaining the physical and emotional changes that take place during pregnancy. Class participants get a chance to share their experiences with others and gain the skills and confidence to make birth and parenthood a positive experience.
Preparation for Parenthood Classes
At The Rotunda Hospital we believe that helping and guiding women and their partners at this exciting time is paramount. Ensuring expectant parents receive appropriate information will ultimately help shape their birthing experience and the journey towards parenthood.
Our Parent Education programme encompasses a multi-disciplinary approach with inclusion of antenatal education specialists, physiotherapists, the medical social work department and mental health support midwives.
The aim of our parent education programme is to help prepare, empower and support women and their birthing partners to make birth and adjusting to parenthood a positive experience.
The classes take the form of relaxed, interactive discussions and demonstrations. They help calm fears and give expectant parents a chance to share experiences with others.
We encourage all pregnant women to attend parent education classes and offer a 5 week programme covering a range of topics. If you would like to attend this programme please book Class 1 which is held in early pregnancy and for mums-to-be-only at your booking visit. Classes 2 to 5 will only be booked after you attend Class 1 and will usually start around ten weeks before your baby is due. Partners are encouraged to attend classes 2 to 5. Early booking is essential to ensure you place as classes fill up very quickly.
Class 1 (Mums-to-be only)
Class 1 focuses on empowering the women to keep fit and healthy throughout pregnancy. . The Parent education midwife will discuss the importance of good antenatal care, the normal physiological changes that occur during pregnancy and their effects on your body. Advice will be given on their management and when to seek medical assistance. Other topics discussed include vaccinations, dental health, travel, sexual relationships, premature labour and many more…Information is provided on the additional services within the hospital. The physiotherapist will discuss the role of the pelvic floor in pregnancy and explain the importance of knowing when and how to do pelvic floor exercises correctly. Advice is given on managing postural changes as the pregnancy progresses and how to perform daily activities to reduce back and pelvic girdle pain. The medical social worker and the mental health support midwife will give advice and discuss their particular role.
Class 2 Labour and Birth
During this class we discuss the normal physiology of labour and birth, building the woman and her birthing partners’ confidence regarding staying at home in the early stages of labour. The admission procedure is explained, the plan of care while in labour, the birth itself, the delivery of the placenta, the importance of early breastfeeding and skin to skin. Pain relief options are outlined, special circumstances such as an instrumental delivery and caesarean section are discussed emphasising that this is a day we can of course prepare for but unfortunately cannot plan.
Class 3 Infant Feeding
Class 3 focuses on infant feeding. We discuss the physiology of breastfeeding, the advantages of same and track the timeline of a typical breastfed baby. We aim to set a realistic expectation of what to expect explaining baby- led feeding, supply and demand nature of milk supply and the breastfeeding woman’s body. Practical elements around feeding such as the importance of good support networks and where to get help, sterilisation of feeding equipment, winding a baby and oral vitamin D are also discussed. Women who for medical reasons are unable to breastfeed or who choose not to are encouraged to attend a preparation of infant formula demonstration postnatally.
Class 4 Baby-care and Going Home
Class 4 aims to prepare parents for the transition from hospital to home and adjusting to parenthood. We cover practical elements and safety points around holding a newborn baby, dressing and clothing, bathing, bedding and equipment, nappy changing and the importance of good skincare. Car safety, safe sleep and tummy time are discussed and demonstrated in detail. We inform the group regarding what to expect postnatally ensuring that adequate time is spent discussing the partners role, return of fertility, positive mental health promotion, signs and symptoms of postnatal depression and supports available. We discuss all routine assessments for both baby and mum prior to discharge from the hospital and at home in the community. Information regarding birth certificate, child benefit, vaccinations, under 6 free GP care scheme, when to call a doctor and the role of the Public Health Nurse are also discussed.
Class 5 Physiotherapy
Class 5 is instructed by the physiotherapy department. This class gives women and their partners an opportunity to practice the physical skills for managing the first stage of labour. It focuses on practicing techniques such as breathing, back massage, rhythmic rocking using the birthing ball and gravity assisted positions during a timed contraction and instructions on how to perform perineal massage.
The second stage of labour is also discussed and various positions which facilitate the opening of the pelvic outlet. The connection between breathing, pelvic floor release and pushing techniques is practiced. Advice is given on post natal recovery and rehabilitation to guide women towards pelvic floor friendly return to exercise and motherhood. The final part of the class includes baby care advice, such as the back to sleep campaign, importance of tummy time and plagiocephaly and torticollis. Facilitating head control and rolling is encouraged and advice is given regarding the use of equipment, no pillows in the cot and safe use of car seats and limiting the use of bouncers and walkers.
Refresher classes are also available and are aimed at women who already have a child.
The course consists of two classes, one with the Parent education midwife and the second with the physiotherapist and can be booked at your antenatal booking visit.
If you find you are unable to attend the classes at the hospital, there may be classes in your local community.
Smaller specialised classes are held for couples with support needs including teenage pregnancy, hearing impairment, language difficulties, sight impairment and adoptive parents.
To make an appointment for parent education classes, please contact:
Public classes – 01 817 1787
The entire parent education programme is also available online @ https://rotunda.ie/parent-education/resources/
Naturally you may have questions following review of your Online Antenatal classes, for this reason The Parent Education Department host daily online topic specific ask the Midwife sessions. These sessions are a safe place for you to ask questions around specific topics covered within the Parent Education programme-you can book into these sessions by either asking your Midwife at your booking visit or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
An additional support provided by the parent education department is a designated email address: email@example.com and phone number 018730700 Ext 1330 where women can ask questions in relation to course content.
Topics covered in the parent education classes include:
- Healthy eating during pregnancy
- Exercise in pregnancy
- Posture and prevention of back pain
- Care and health in pregnancy
- Tour of the delivery suite (depending on how busy it is at the time)
- Signs of labour and admission to hospital
- Coping skills for labour
- Relaxation techniques
- Care during the stages of labour, including pain relief
- Baby feeding and weaning
- Care of the newborn
- Exercises for after the birth of the baby
- Adjusting to parenthood – emotional and psychological aspects
- Going home with a new baby
- Family planning
- Returning to work
- Looking after yourself
Hypnobirthing can help a woman and her partner to have a calm and controlled birth experience. In hypnobirthing the woman and her partner learn new tools which will help them to have a more relaxed and enjoyable pregnancy and birthing experience. These tools are also helpful in the postnatal period as they help to calm the baby and keep the parents mindful and calm.
Rotunda research has shown that when a woman and her partner practice hypnobirthing the woman is less likely to need an epidural and that she is at lower risk of a caesarean section.
Hypnobirthing is becoming increasingly popular and several midwives working in a variety of areas in the Rotunda teach the courses. We now offer couples a 4 week course in hypnobirthing on Zoom. The aim of the course is to offer couples more tools to use during labour and birth so that they can have an enjoyable birth experience – a calm, comfortable and in-control birth. The course is covered over 4 Tuesdays and the class runs from 5.30pm to 8.30pm with a short break at about 7.00pm.
The course covers how the body gives birth and how relaxation can assist it. The role of the partner is covered extensively and massage, relaxation tools, mindfulness, a variety of scripts and birth preferences are also covered. A book and an MP3 are available to complement the course.
Feedback on the course is very positive and women have found that hypnobirthing is a very useful tool to help them on their birthing journey.
Day and time: Tuesdays 5.30 – 8.30pm
Booking is essential:
Information on Breastfeeding
Our team will discuss the many benefits of breastfeeding with you, while our complementary breastfeeding classes offer the practical support that new mums often need.
The Rotunda Private promotes breastfeeding as the healthy way a woman can feed her baby.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that breastfeeding is the best form of nutrition for infants. It recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of the baby’s life and thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to two years of age or beyond.
There is more to breastfeeding than simply providing food. The very intimate relationship that develops between a breastfeeding mother and her baby can also help the behavioural and emotional development of the baby.
During the antenatal period, our doctors and midwives will discuss breastfeeding with you and answer any questions you may have.
Importance of Breastfeeding for Mothers
Research shows that breastfeeding has significant health benefits for mothers. These include:
- assisting the uterus (womb) return to its pre-pregnant state faster
- helping women to lose weight after the baby’s birth
- reducing the risk of ovarian and pre-menopausal breast cancer
- reducing the risk of osteoporosis
- reducing the risk of mothers with gestational diabetes developing type 2 diabetes
- postponing the resumption of ovulation and menstruation during exclusive breastfeeding
Importance of Breastfeeding for Babies
Less illness and hospitalisations – babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of developing some illnesses including:
- stomach upsets and infections
- respiratory and ear infections
- urinary tract infections
Perfect food – breast milk has all the important ingredients to build the baby’s immune system. Breast milk changes from feed to feed to suit each baby’s unique needs, making it the perfect food to promote healthy growth and development.
Breast milk is easily digested and allergies to breast milk are rare.
Environmentally, breast milk has no waste products and leaves no carbon footprint.
Breast milk is FREE, convenient, clean and safe – always available at the right temperature anytime.
Complimentary Breastfeeding Workshop
We hold virtual antenatal breastfeeding workshops which aim to give practical tips and advice to women who intend to breastfeed. All women are encouraged to attend this workshop once during pregnancy from 28 weeks onwards. This session is in addition to the parent education classes, which all women are encouraged to attend.
Venue: These Classes are currently virtual
Date & Time: Tuesdays 5 pm-6 pm and Thursdays 5 pm-6 pm
Cost: No Charge
Booking: Book between 20-22 weeks