Pregnancy
17 weeks and 6 days pregnant

In this image the whole baby is seen in one view. The legs, held straight, will now be kicking more strongly and, especially if you have had a baby before, you will be increasingly aware of these movements over the next few weeks.

You might want to think about signing up for antenatal classes now as in many areas they get booked up well in advance.

Antenatal classes help to prepare you for the birth of your baby. They usually start in the sixth or seventh month. You’ll learn about the signs that you’re in labour; breathing and relaxation techniques; pain-relief options; and medical interventions. You’ll also be given practical advice on caring for your newborn baby, which can be invaluable if you’re a first-time parent.

Depending on where you live, there are various types of classes. These range from free NHS classes run by a midwife at the hospital or clinic, to private classes run by organizations such as the National Childbirth Trust (NCT). You’re legally entitled to take time off work to attend classes. Classes are a great way to meet other expectant parents, and by doing so you’ll gain an invaluable mutual support system through the rest of your pregnancy and the early weeks of parenting.

By attending antenatal classes with you, your partner can help to prepare for the labour and early weeks of parenting. Classes are also a good way for your partner to meet other dads-to-be. The significant role fathers can play during labour and in the early weeks of parenting is widely acknowledged, and as a result antenatal classes have become much more father-friendly.

If you’re single, you don’t have to go it alone.There’s no reason why you can’t attend a class with a friend or relative – preferably the person who will be attending the birth. If you’d prefer not to do this, you could find out if there are any classes in your area for single expectant mums. You may feel more comfortable in this environment and you will get the opportunity to meet other women who are in the same position as you.

Don’t skip classes just because you’re single: they’re an invaluable way of learning about pregnancy, labour, and parenting.

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By attending classes, you and your partner can practise and feel more confident about the techniques you’ll use in labour.

As twins are likely to arrive ahead of schedule, you should definitely look into booking antenatal classes now so that you can start them early. Besides, your bump could be very large towards the end, and you may feel less mobile and inclined to go. Because twins sometimes need special care, you should arrange a tour of the Special Care Baby Unit, too.

In some areas, there are special antenatal sessions for those having twins or more, often in the evenings. If your hospital doesn’t provide these, a neighbouring hospital might. Ask your midwife.

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