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What's the difference?

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

How is your class different to the NHS or other birth preparation classes?

Choosing to invest in your birth preparation is an important decision. Making sure you choose the right class for you is equally crucial. So how do my classes differ from others?

Firstly lets compare the NHS Free antenatal education.


Stirling Birth School

2 x 2 hour sessions online via Eventbrite

4 x 2.5 hour sessions in person or online

Tells you about Stages of Labour

Stages of Labour explored through group activities and covered in depth.

Tells you about medical Pain Relief options available

ALL Pain Relief options discussed, including alternative pain relief, pros/cons and risks of each.

Tells you about the different places of birth available

Explores places of birth, research and evidence for each, and helps you plan your perfect birth environment.

Tells your about the Induction Process

Explains the induction process, why you might be offered one, evidence for this, and how to make an informed decision if this is right for you.

Tells you about Hospital Bag Checklist

Includes a Hospital Bag Checklist, along with breathing exercises, positions for labour, birth partner massage techniques, birth affirmations, birth mindful colouring and more in a handout pack.

Shows you via video how to wash baby, change baby and advice on feeding.

Involves you and your birth partner in all learning, with demos and time to practise.

Same class for everyone regardless of individual circumstances.

Individualised and tailored to you and your circumstances, even within a group setting.

Teaches you 2 different breathing techniques to use during birth

Promotes a positive mindset for birth and helps support you to achieve this through challenging birth anxieties.

Involves your birth partner in all aspects of birth preparation

Relaxing meditation during each class to help you switch off and MP3s included for home use.

Birth Planning Support - helping you define your birth preferences in class and then write your birth plan using our exclusive E-Book guide.

Demonstrates how your body actually works, from your uterus muscles to your hormones, and how you can support them to experience a more comfortable birth.

Covers your birth rights, what informed consent actually means, and how to advocate for your birth.

Tips to help you have the birth experience you are dreaming of, whatever that may be, within the NHS system.

What is the same between the classes?

You still get the same antenatal content - I just cover each area in a bit more detail. There are more opportunities to ask questions, either during the class or after as you can whatsapp me if something crops up.

In all group classes, you will also get to meet other parents-to-be. Most classes allow for some chat with others. In my experience, the NHS class was worst for this, especially now it is online. I found pregnancy yoga best for meeting other mums, but there was nothing for my partner. My classes make sure you both have time to make friends and connect with other couples.

In an article published August 2022, NHS Forth Valley faced critism that the antenatal education they offered was not good enough. The Full article can be read here.

Linda, who only wanted to give her first name, said the experience had made her “feel a little bit lost” and like she had “missed out”. The 37-year-old cabin crew worker from Forth Valley, Scotland, who is eight months pregnant with her first child said it “wasn’t good enough” that NHS Forth Valley was only offering antenatal classes online.
“There wasn’t even that many. I think they only run once a month. It wasn’t the easiest to sign up and I did one last week and it was a Microsoft Teams and it’s not good, it’s not good enough.
While the sessions are taking place on Microsoft Teams, meaning they are live and interactive, Linda said she and her partner struggled to engage with the virtual class.

Which is the most important difference between The Stirling Birth School classes and others?

Personally, I feel the work on mindset is the most important difference. Of course there are others, but having the right mindset for birth can dramatically turn your birth around! Watch the video below for what I mean by this:

When you prepare for birth, it should focus on preparing you mentally and emotionally for birth as well as physically, and that is something that you are not going to get at another class.

Birth trauma is experienced by 30,000 women a year in the UK and most of the time it is not physical trauma but mental, psychological trauma. So preparing your mind for birth is crucial. There are lots of ways we do this over the course of 4 weeks to promote a more positive mindset for birth.

Your birth partner also matters.

Yes, as the person giving birth you are the V.I.P. in this scenario, however this is an incredibly important day for your birth partner too. The NHS class does not speak to them. In many cases mums-to-be do this without their birth partner present. Other classes are also more directed towards the mum, and have a partner class as an 'add-on'. But I personally feel you make a baby together, you should birth a baby together and they have a hugely influential role in making the birth experience positive for both you and them.

They will want to feel useful, not helpless, and having the tools and skills to know what to do can make all the difference. During my classes, birth partners are encouraged to share their anxieties with other birth partners, they learn all about birth and how they can best support you. You plan together. They learn how to advocate for you. What to say when you need them. What to do to help. And they feel more confident taking a leading role in your birth support. That is important for you both. To get your birth partner involved read this post here.

"I did a hypnobirthing class, but then I had an induction so I couldn't use it and everything went out the window".

This was something said to me by a neighbour and friend. This is not a hypnobirthing and the class she went to has been sold misleadingly. A class that states it has 'elements of hypnobirthing' is a bit like a jack of all trades and is a master of none. If you want pregnancy yoga, go to pregnancy yoga, if you just want antenatal education, go to a NCT class. My class is hypnobirthing. Try to see past the 'hypno' part in the name. It is about preparing psychologically for birth whatever birth that may be - like I said, mindset is important! As shown above, you get the antenatal content regardless, but you also get skills that are transferable to an induction, c-section, home birth, water birth or hospital bed birth. If you would like to better understand what hypnobirthing is, you can read more about it here.

Final Thought

Its about how you feel. When you think back on your important memories in life, you remember how you felt in each moment. Other classes, don't take your feelings into account but just give you the medical information. Ensuring you feel confident, calm and in control of your birth is the most important thing to me. Having the best support possible from an educated birth partner is influential to this. Making sure, that together, you have a positive birth experience that you can both look back on with pride is what it is all about. So that is the main difference.

If you would like to book a class with me, click the button below to find out all the available options.

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