Preparing for a baby in your life consists of more than a few breathing exercises and relaxation techniques, especially if you are away from home and not yet fully comfortable with the Dutch maternity system. A course with Great Expectations prepares parents by educating them on how their choices in maternity care may influence their birth outcomes. Each couple will prepare a birth plan for their chosen caregiver so that both parties are comfortable with the protocols and policies of their hospital and their midwife or gynaecologist. For instance, choosing midwifery care offers more choice on where you have your baby. Whether or not you decide on epidural also determines who delivers your baby. Once all these options have been explored only then can couples prepare a realistic plan on how they wish to manage their labour. This can be with breathing techniques, massage, visualisations, gentle movement, dancing, water, using a TENS machine or medical pain relief. During the course couples will explore how to use and practice all these options (except for the drugs!) and decide for themselves which suits them best, based on the concept of informed choice.

Every couple hopes for a straightforward birth but sometimes medical help is required and it is important to have some understanding as to why medical interventions such as induction or ceasarean may be needed and what the implications of this kind of birth has on Mum and baby during the birth and after. Using medical pain relief also has implications for recovery.

Sometimes couples are so focused on the birth they forget to prepare for life after birth. So breastfeeding is an integral part of the course as well as coping with a newborn during the first six weeks and the challenges that brings. For most new parents understanding why a baby is crying can be tremendously useful. A crying baby and lack of sleep are the two major stress factors to deal with for the new family. Having some tips and tools on managing your home go a long way to reducing this stress and helps couples to settle down and actually enjoy the joys of being new parents and the wonder a New Baby brings. For more information go to the childbirth option or call Tina on 06 50634434. Check course dates for availability.

Great Expectations.nl has now also branched into teaching First Aid to childminders, creche leaders and school teachers having recently signed a contract with the Dutch Examination board NIKTA – see www.nikta.nl. Courses are provided in English and meet the strict Dutch regulations under the Dutch childcare Act. Go to CPR/First Aid to find out more.

I am a fully qualified childbirth, breastfeeding, baby massage, and First Aid instructor. I hope to meet you one day.