Content of the course
At an antenatal course, you have the opportunity to talk to other pregnant women and their partners, and to clarify any questions and any uncertainties you may have with a midwife or other specialist. The course covers questions like:
- Which pelvic floor exercises help before, during and after the birth?
- Which sports activities can I practise during pregnancy and which are no longer ideal?
- Are there any breathing exercises that can calm the nervous system or optimise – or even shorten – the birth?
- How can I prepare the perineum and prevent a tear and/or episiotomy?
- What can I do if I’m feeling mentally unwell after the birth or even think I may be suffering from postnatal depression?
Midwife for professional guidance during pregnancy
Preparing for a forthcoming birth is probably as old as (wo)mankind itself. Nowadays, it's a midwife who provides professional guidance to the couple during pregnancy – either alone or alternating with the doctor. The midwife is on hand to help answer questions or ease anxieties about pregnancy or birth. For some couples this is enough to prepare them for the big change ahead.
Questions about becoming a parent
During pregnancy there are usually a few question marks dotted between the couple's joy and excitement. It's normal that questions about the health and well-being of the mother-to-be and baby, the birth and the postnatal period are on parents' minds.
Antenatal courses: what types are available?
In addition to guidance provided by the midwife, a wide range of antenatal courses exist offering information about what it is to be pregnant and giving birth. These include:
- private courses, usually lasting only 3-4 hours
- weekend courses with or without your partner
- group courses, which take place once a week for 6-8 weeks
Other courses address specific situations in relation to caesarean sections, multiple pregnancies, high-risk pregnancies or child loss. Many hospitals, clinics and freelance midwives offer courses.
Cat stretch exercise for back pain
Body awareness exercises help soothe issues like abdominal pain and will relax the back. To do the exercise: get on all fours, placing the flat of your hands parallel to the knees and in line with the shoulders. If it helps, your partner can support your position by placing their hands on your belly and in the small of your back.
- While inhaling, raise your head and form a hollow back as best as possible.
- On the exhale, arch your back like a cat, bringing the head to the chest.
- Repeat in your own breathing rhythm.
Cat stretch exercise
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Contraction tea recipe
Contraction tea, also known as pregnancy tea, is said to gently induce contractions. The tea is recommended from week 38 of pregnancy.
10 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece of ginger (size of a walnut, cut into pieces)
2 tbsp or 3 tea bags of verbena
1l boiling water
Allow the tea to infuse for a total of 10 minutes.
Tips for conscious breathing during the birth
Breathe regularly during the birth, preferably through the nose.
Never hold your breath. Even during the pushing phase there are special techniques for breathing.
Breathe through a relaxed and open mouth, and try not to press your lips together. The mouth is connected to the cervix. If you manage to keep your mouth and jaw relaxed, the cervix will open more easily.
If the pain is severe, breathing out to certain tones can help. For example: hum or sing an A, O or U in the lowest possible pitch.
Go on a visual journey. Like meditation, it can help to imagine scenes like a mountain hike, an ocean with waves or the flow of your breath in a certain pattern.
Breathe at your own rate and have faith in your own ability and body.