New antenatal classes proving popular

Class coordinator and midwife Alexandra Deas.

Strong demand for new antenatal classes planned for Tauranga has prompted organisers to open up new sessions before the classes even begin.

The Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond classes are part of a suite of free education classes and groups being launched by Bethlehem Birthing Centre – with the first class starting on August 28.

From antenatal classes to coffee groups, lactation support group and a mothers’ exercise group, the classes have the common aim of providing support for pregnant women and new mothers.

Class coordinator and midwife Alexandra Deas says the classes will give another option to new mums seeking a support network in Tauranga, at what is sometimes a challenging time of life.

“At the birthing centre we have always supported women from labour until they take their baby home, with a strong focus on the complete post-natal experience – including support with breastfeeding and baby care,” says Alexandra.

The Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond course is free for expectant mothers and their partners, and held over either a six-week evening class or occasional two-week weekend workshop. The classes focus on preparing couples for mindful birthing and learning skills to manage the discomfort of labour, as well as preparation for life with a newborn, positive parenting and establishing/nurturing family traditions.

The antenatal classes are designed to provide a relaxed, fun and supportive environment which will prepare parents-to-be for the life-changing experience ahead of them.

“The aim is to teach them what to expect during childbirth and how to manage discomfort in labour, but also to provide useful information for after baby is born,” Alexandra says.

Also starting later this month is The Milk Cafe – a relaxed group session with Bethlehem Birthing Centre’s lactation consultant, Shauna Walters, where mothers can share their successes and trials. The intention is to promote friendships and camaraderie, and share knowledge, with no pressure to attend each session.

Later this year the centre will also begin two other groups – the Move Baby Move programme and Mama and Me classes.

Move Baby Move will be a fun class for mum and baby, coordinated by certified fitness instructor Michelle Redmond. The class is designed to allow mothers to get back into fitness and mingle with other like-minded new mums.

Mama and Me will be a follow-on group for mums who have completed the Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond class. This group will provide an opportunity for post-birth catch-ups with other new mums. Meet-ups will include information sessions on topics such as baby massage and aromatherapy, sleep, and breastfeeding, as well as informal chat.

Pregnant women who want to find out more about birthing without intervention are also invited to visit the facility every Tuesday and Thursday at 10am and 7.30pm, when mums and their support person can visit the facility for a tour and find out more about what the centre offers.

Bookings for all classes are essential; email