Antenatal Education – Guest Blog by Midwife team – PBB Events

Antenatal Education – Guest Blog by Midwife team – PBB Events

Antenatal Education – Starts from the moment you find out you are pregnant.

Guest Blog written by Emma Trollope from PBB Events.

Hi! My name is Emma Trollope, I am a midwife and have been working within the NHS for the past 13 years. With my mum (who is also a midwife) we run the Pregnancy Birth and Beyond Events Company – PBB Events. For the past 18 months we have drawn on our vast knowledge of antenatal education, from working, teaching parents, and mentoring students within the NHS. This vast experience over the years has enabled us to create events to help empower expectant and new parents, support them and provide them with information to be able to make informed choices to have a positive pregnancy and birth experience. It has also enabled us to provide courses for birth professionals to help keep them up to date on their knowledge and introduce interesting topics.

Midwives from PBB St Albans

Antenatal education is a huge part of the pregnancy experience and we feel pregnant women and their partners are entitled to realistic and affordable classes. Antenatal education’s purpose is to prepare expectant parents for pregnancy, birth and the postpartum period.

Antenatal education is recommended by healthcare professionals around the world, and there are many different courses to choose from. The research around what the benefits of attending antenatal education is lacking. A Cochrane review in 2007 suggested antenatal education did not make a difference to the way a women birthed (vaginal delivery, instrumental or caesarean section) however from other studies and our experience it can make a big difference to a couple having a baby, helping to reduce the fear of childbirth, reducing the false labour admissions, and increasing partner involvement.

But actually, the antenatal education starts from the moment you find out your pregnant….

Booking Appointment

At your booking appointment (usually before 10 weeks of pregnancy) you will be given information about screening options for mum and baby, your diet in pregnancy, foods to avoid, foods to increase, vitamin D and ferrous sulphate, exercise, plan of care for your pregnancy, contact numbers and when to be concerned. As well as options around place of birth, dental care, safety at home, starting to think about feeding your baby and risk assessments at work to name a few. That sounds like a lot to cover in one appointment doesn’t it? Well, it is, and most women come out of that appointment feeling overloaded with information!

Some of this information you may have chosen to read up on beforehand, or you may know if you have been pregnant before. If it is all new, do not worry you will be given leaflets and there is more information and links in your handheld maternity notes that you will be asked to carry round with you and take to every appointment, and I have included some great websites at the end of this blog for further reading. Some hospitals may have gone completely paperless and in this circumstance you will be asked to download and app.

All this information is important though so you can make choices about the kind of care you will receive during your pregnancy, what kind of screening you would like, if any, and to ensure you have the healthiest pregnancy possible for you and baby.

Midwife Appointments

Throughout your pregnancy approximately every 4 weeks or so you should have an appointment with a midwife or obstetrician to complete a check up on how you are doing physically and mentally as well as following the development of the baby.

Even if your pregnancy is classed as high risk and you need to see an obstetric consultant, we would recommend you make some of your appointments in between to see your midwife as well. Different information is given at different appointments as it is relevant to different weeks of pregnancy. Doctors appointments tend to focus on the medical issue that you may be at risk of or going through where as at a midwife appointment you can have discussions about things like further screening for you and baby as well as talking over your birth preferences and plans for postnatal care as well as an opportunity to discuss the plan the consultant has documented for you.

Antenatal Classes

There are sooooo many types of formal antenatal education available that will go over preparation for labour, birth and the first few weeks with your new-born. You can even find your own sources of information via You Tube, websites, or books (just be careful that you make sure they are reputable, trustworthy places).

Some you pay for, and some are free, some are face to face while others virtual. You can book classes with other parents or if you prefer you can go for a one to one session. A few of them include some kind of exercise like Pilates or yoga as well as being packed full of information and others focus on techniques to help you in labour like hypnobirthing.

Then there are the more traditional classes, some taught by midwives, like ours, which can be a course of classes over several weeks or individual modules. Individual modules on caesarean section, induction of labour or feeding can be especially good if you are not a first-time mum and just want to remind yourself about different aspects of labour and birth or life with a new baby. Perhaps you have done another type of class and want to top it up with a specific subject which matches your circumstances or risk factors.

With so much choice you need to think about what you want. How you learn best. Do you want to form a support network by meeting other expectant parents. Do you want it to be interactive with a facilitator and to be able to ask questions live or do you prefer just to sit and listen to a pre-recorded video. Whatever your choice there is something out there for you, just ask.

What we do know is that when women and their partners who feel prepared for birth and know about the possible complications that can arise, they feel more equipped to be actively involved in the decision making during their pregnancy, labour and birth. This decreases the fear of childbirth and parents end up with a much more positive experience, so it is well worth preparing yourself in which ever way you feel right for you.

Thank you so much for reading.
Emma & Debbie Trollope owners of PBB Events
Events run by Midwives for Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond.

Please head to our website for more information and helpful blogs from us and the women we have supported during their pregnancy and parenting journeys

Please also feel free to email us directly if you have any questions
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As promised we have popped some other websites that we think you would find really useful for further information.

Pregnancy | Start4Life (

Foods to avoid in pregnancy – NHS (

WHO | Vitamin D supplementation during pregnancy

PregnancyHub | Tommy’s

PGP help sheet

PGP help sheet

PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain) which was previously called SPD is a debilitating condition, worsened by the hormonal and mechanical changes of pregnancy. In a past blog I have written about pelvic pain and dysfunction and how Osteopathy works so well to help.

In this post I have put together an advice sheet on what to do alongside and after your treatment, and to support ongoing treatment with us, in terms of reducing pain and getting the body back to normal more quickly and effectively. This will also help longer term.


1. Use frozen peas!!!!

Yes it really does work! Most of the pain experienced, especially at the pubic bone and sacroiliac joints (at the back of the pelvis), is inflammatory in nature. This means it responds really well to cold. Pop a handful of frozen peas in a freezy bag, tie in a knot, then use as your ice pack. 10 minutes at a time on all sore spots. This can also work really well on both of the hips before you go to bed, as many people experience their PGP pain on the outside of the hip as they sleep. By using frozen peas before bed, this can help to give you more sleep.

2. Pillow between the knees

Boring, but it does work. If you are sleeping on your side, make sure your hip bones are stacked on top of each other to prevent further imbalance. A pillow under the bump too can be fantastic to help keep the bump in a good place and not being dragged downwards.

3. Avoid crossing legs

Try to avoid crossing one leg over the other for prolonged periods of time, it can be easier on your pelvic muscles to try to keep your pelvis in a neutral position. Thereby, sit with equal weight through both sit bones. Try to avoid twisting repetitively whilst you are in this position too.

4. Maybe ditch the stilettos (and flip flops)..

High heels can push your weight even further forwards. If you are pregnant then you will be weight bearing more in this position anyway due to your bump. Try to wear good comfy shoes whenever a lot of walking is required. By supporting your arches you will be able to help reduce any dysfunctional loading through the pelvis, particularly on those of you who have had babies before, the ligament on the sole of the foot which supports your arch, can often increase in laxity, therefore forcing the muscles to work too hard.

5. Get strong!

Stronger glutes and core muscles (and of course pelvic floor muscles) are imperative in keeping out of pain more long term. This can be done whilst pregnant and after. Pilates works wonders. Ask us for some basic exercises to help you individually. Although best to avoid single leg exercises for now unless you are with a specialist trainer. It is important to continue to exercise if you can, as it makes such a difference to your fitness for birth, mental health, and general pain levels.

6. Don’t overstretch

So there are loads of little muscles and ligaments around your pelvis, both front and back, which are likely quite strained with SPD/PGP. If you open your legs too wide to get out of the car, do a box splits position or similar type stretch in a yoga class, or always sit with your knees together, and hips turned inwards (and feet/lower legs out), then definitely worth avoiding if possible. The issue is usuall;y when it comes to going to full range stretch, therefore when doing yoga, or other exercises, try to not over stretch. Using a newspaper to swivel on in the car can be really helpful to avoid this. The full stretch positions can take the muscles further than they want to go, so if they are inflamed they can get really sore. Swimming is amazing, but you may prefer back crawl or front crawl now as breaststroke can cause overstretching at the pubic symphysis area.

7. Avoid hip carrying other children

Try to carry your elder children centrally, like a monkey carry if possible. If you hitch your hip to carry a child, toddler or baby in this way, then you can cause a further disruption to the balance of the muscles around the hips and pelvis, and put more strain on the ligaments, causing muscles to spasm, and further exacerbate a pelvic issue. Central carrying is a great habit to get into from a very early age.

8. Try to relax

It is much easier said than done, but most of the latest research on PGP tends to tie it in with times of stress. PGP is far more common in those going through serious life stresses, overworking, or moving house. The stress hormones will act as a sensitiser, and therefore can increase perception of pain significantly. Cortisol will affect how every cell in your body functions. Normal day to day stresses are OK, but when it can be too much, or for prolonged periods of time, then our bodies try to find another route out of it. Often in pregnancy, this can be through the highly sensitised pelvis. So finding exercise that you enjoy is really important, finding ways to manage your stress, walking, nature, meditation, pilates, yoga. Whatever you can find to help improve mood and allow you to relax is really important. Walking is really beneficial, but make sure you do it after you have ate, so that your body is not too fatigued. Good brisk walking can be great. This can be difficult if you are in lots of pain, but even 5 minute chunks can be really useful. Keeping moving is fab where you can.


I hope all of this information is helpful. Osteopathy is fab for realigning and rebalancing the pelvis, and calming down pain and inflammation and muscle spasm brought on by pelvic pain and SPD. SPD is predominantly a mechanical issue, whereby the load through the pelvis has been disrupted. Lots of women can be pain free after treatment, but do need to take care of themselves for the rest of their pregnancy to prevent the pain from returning. This advice sheet will help you to remember the important bits.

Please contact us if you have any questions: