When you are pregnant with your second baby you are expected to know what childbirth and motherhood is all about.
I’m pregnant again but having my first baby in Australia and I’ve tried to book a public antenatal class but was told I don’t need one.
I also made my own second-time mums’ group because apparently as a second-time mum, I don’t get much help finding one of those either.
In the UK – where I had my first baby – participants in private antenatal classes are arguably there for the mates. That’s how my lovely London mums’ group was formed.
The antenatal classes also helped me have some confidence about what was coming.
In Australia, there are a host of reasons why a second-time mum might need a refresher antenatal course and a second-time mums' group.
Sarah Tooke, a registered nurse and midwife, offers private antenatal classes for second-time mums and other expecting parents that might want to have some childbirth education without the hippy stuff.
The classes are for everyone and can be tailored to meet specific needs like having multiple babies, mums having caesarean sections, vaginal birth after caesarean mums, LGBT parents, single parents or shorter refresher sessions for second-time parents.
Laura Wilson, 33, booked in a home class ahead of the birth of her second baby, Eric, because she was looking for a more tailored approach that could also fit in with her toddler's night routine.
"We didn't need to know all the information, we just needed specific information," she told Mamamia.
The Sydney mum had experienced a six-hour labour with her first baby, Emily, and was concerned about another fast labour and how to manage a toddler along with a new baby.
"The experience is so different every single time. Just because it's your second or third time doesn't mean it's necessarily any easier or that it's not as overwhelming or that you're not dealing with new things," the mum-of-two said.
Wilson's instincts were right - her second baby Eric was delivered almost in the car park after a two-hour labour.
"One of the really good things that Sarah helped me with was different techniques and strategies to help me with that really fast escalation of pain," said the 33-year-old.
"With my first I felt really lacking confidence as the pain increased and I felt it was going to be hours and hours of it but the second time I was more confident that I could manage that pain and move through it," she added.
Wilson says every second-time mum would find value in the "practical and relatable" refresher education class on childbirth.
"Sometimes in group classes you don't feel confident enough to talk about those really personal issues but in a private class Sarah gives you the opportunity to ask anything you want and say anything you want without feeling that you're strange or odd. It's really reassuring," she said.
Sarah Tooke says her antenatal classes suit many parents including older parents or parents who have previously lost a child and would find a group class overwhelming, or parents with private medical conditions and blended families.
"It's really important to have opportunity to ask questions, express concerns no matter what number baby you are having," Tooke told Mamamia.
"Some people are choosing different type of birth the second time, so we can discuss this if this is new to them. Second-time mums are less likely to be able to fit hospital schedules," she added.
Her birth courses, which also include topics newborn care, are also popular with first-time mums as an alternative to hospital antenatal classes.
"All women should be supported," said the midwife.
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