If you're feeling overwhelmed by the approaching prospect of becoming a mum, whether it's the idea of birth or the challenges of early parenthood to follow, little will make you feel more reassured than being prepared.
Enter a long list of antenatal classes that aim to do just that and we've rounded up some of the best options on offer in the UAE, with classes that range in size, price, the kind of information offered and the time of the week they run, so that you can find the best fit for you.
Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital
When: Classes are given by experienced midwives and advanced life support instructors every Saturday from 9-12am at Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital in Healthcare City (Building 57, third floor waiting area).
What: The course is composed of four classes split across four weeks, covering: baby care (bathing the baby, burping, changing nappies, carrying babies and swaddling); breastfeeding; labour, birth and pain relief; and infant safety (child accident prevention).
Price: free of charge, regardless of whether you are delivering at Dr Sulaiman Al Habib Hospital or not.
More info: Call 044297718 or 0557126248.
Malaak Mama & Baby Care
When: This four-part course is scheduled on Saturdays and held at Malaak's Times Square Centre location. "We recommend that couples attend them from 24 weeks of pregnancy, enabling them to make choices that suits their birth," says midwife Cecile.
What: "The first session focuses on birth-related topics, covering normal, assisted birth and medical pain management; in the second session we talk about feeding and sleep patterns; the third session is about baby and your postnatal recovery; and the fourth session teaches breathing, relaxation, positions, partner support and much more," says Cecile.
Price: From Dh2,000 per couple
More info: Call 04 453 8164 or visit Malaak.me
Babies and Beyond
When: The class is normally held on the first two Saturdays of each month from 10am to 2pm at the media city premises of these maternity and baby care experts. "We usually recommend that parents attend between 28-34 weeks gestation so the information received remains fresh in their mind," says midwife Hazel.
What: Expect a mix of hands-on and practical demonstrations as well as fun and interactive workshops. "The first day covers labour, delivery, non-medical and medical pain relief, role of the birth partner and when to go to hospital. The second session focuses on the postnatal period, practical care of the newborn baby, breastfeeding and other methods of baby feeding," says hazel.
Price: From dh1,500 per couple
More info: Call 04 278 9832 or visit Babiesandbeyond.ae
When: The classes are usually offered on Wednesday evenings from 7pm to 9.30pm and Friday mornings from 10am to 1pm (the final session finishes at 2pm) at the Jumeirah branch. The ideal time to attend is between 28 and 34 weeks.
What: Expect expert advice delivered by senior midwives and backed up by the latest research. Topics include: caring for yourself during pregnancy, active labour and birth, coping and relaxation strategies, possible challenges of labour, care of a newborn baby and breastfeeding/infant feeding.
With eight to 12 couples per class, there is also plenty of opportunity to meet other parents, although private sessions can also be arranged.
Price: From Dh1,800 per couple
More info: Call the toll-free hotline (800 4272) or email Midwiveshealthbayclinic.com
New Concept Clinic
When: Run by Dr Elsa De Menezes Fernandes, a UK-trained obstetrician and gynaecologist, New Concept offer daytime individual and group sessions.
What: Courses are designed to prepare you fully for pregnancy, labour, birth and parenthood with the following topics all up for discussion: Caring for yourself during pregnancy, antenatal care, labour and birth, pain management, challenges of labour, breastfeeding, infant feeding and caring for your newborn baby.
Price: Dh550 for two-hour private session.
More info: Call 045547273 or visit Drelsa.ae
When: There is a choice of five classes offered at Medcare designed to give you the skills and knowledge that will help you gain more confidence on your motherhood journey. Get in touch for timings.
What: the classes are run under the following five topics: Journey through pregnancy, labour & delivery, breastfeeding and kangaroo care, baby care and vaccinations and after care.
Price: Included in the Medcare Blossom package when you sign up to deliver at a Medcare hospital.
More info: Call 042789832 or see Medcare.ae
Al Zahra Hospital Dubai
When: This comprehensive one-day course typically runs on the first Saturday of each month. As some of the focus is on parenting tips and practical advice about what to do when you get your baby home, it's best to take the course in the latter stages of pregnancy (after 28 weeks).
What: The class combines antenatal advice with parentcraft classes, offering you lots of take-away information about labour, childbirth and parenting delivered by expert midwives.
Price: Included in the antenatal package
More info: Call 04 278 9832 or visit Azhd.ae
Mediclinic City Hospital
When: Mediclinic City Hospital runs free, fully catered antenatal classes on three dedicated Fridays every month. The sessions are conducted by experienced midwives who are trained to prepare parents for their journey to parenthood. The whole day session starts at 8.30am and finishes at 3.30pm. Due to space constraints parents are advised to register between 24 to 36 weeks.
What: during the session, the following topics are covered: Preparation for birth and birth plan, labour stages and birthing, coping strategies and partner role. You'll also find interactive support stations for postnatal care, breastfeeding, CPR and baby safety.
More info: Email Cityhospital@mediclinic.ae or visit Mediclinicbaby.ae
King's College Hospital London, Dubai Hills
When: The classes come in a group of three that run for the first three Fridays of every month, 10am to 12pm.
What: The antenatal classes are delivered by the hospital's team of UK-trained midwives in a fun and informative way, helping to support and prepare mums and dads for their baby’s arrival. Each class covers different stages of pregnancy, including the labour and birth and the postnatal period up to 72 hours. Mums who have attended the classes say they love that they're run by different midwives, so that when it comes to their day of delivery they're surrounded by familiar faces. Parents are welcome at any stage of the gestation period but typically attend the classes from week 28 onwards (earlier if you are expecting twins).
More info: Call 04 519 999 or use the online booking form.
Corniche Hospital, Abu Dhabi
When: Classes run every Wednesday evening from 6pm to 8pm and every Friday morning from 10am to noon. The programme is a series of four sessions and it's recommended to take the first session in the second trimester and the second class from 28 weeks.
What: Run by midwives, sessions are designed to be fun and interactive, covering everything from health in pregnancy to caring for your newborn. The early session covers pregnancy ailments and health tips. With 5-20 people per class, there is also the opportunity to meet like-minded parents-to-be.
Price: Free when you sign up for the hospital's maternity package
More info: Call 02 696 5166 or email Parenteducation@cornichehospital.ae
Find our essential week-by-week guide to being pregnant in the UAE here
Find our UAE birth guide, including how to choose a hospital and information on all the paperwork you'll need, here