Antenatal classes for dads

There is a wealth of research available confirming that dads play a crucial role in providing good outcomes for their children and that the relationships they have with them are of great benefit to both dad and child.

This being said, there is still a dearth of support services for dads, and from the start of the Dads Rock playgroups, dads have asked for more support and especially early on in the pregnancy process. We found that dads who came to our playgroups wanted more information, and that quite a few of them were unable to attend NHS antenatal classes due to work commitments.

In order to fill this gap in services, Dads Rock and NHS Lothian came together in January 2016 to provide free antenatal classes in Edinburgh specifically aimed at dads.

The classes are facilitated by a midwife alongside Dads Rock staff, and run over four evenings. The classes are a mix of practical skills and educational information surrounding labour, birth, bathing of baby, and changing nappies. We also talk about looking after a baby (as well as covering topics such as brain development, perinatal mental health and cot death). 

Our classes are delivered in the evening to ensure dads can attend without having to take time off work.

Another aim of the class is to equip dads-to be with the skills and knowledge they will need for the coming weeks and months of being a new father. The classes are also a good time to signpost dads-to-be onto other dads’ services, to ensure they feel supported. 

To date 74 dads-to-be have attended the Dads Rock courses. They provided the following feedback about the benefits of the classes:  

  • small group size helped. Good to know how I can support my wife during labour and after
  • practical skills – emotional focus
  • how to support my wife and share the responsibility more evenly
  • I know how to change nappies now
  • I now feel that I can cope alone, if I were left alone with the baby
  • it was nice to know more than my wife

Dads Rock has also received feedback from dads after the birth of their children to confirm the classes were useful and prepared them well for labour and the early days.

Dads’ antenatal classes are now offered in every part of the Lothians, with NHS Lothian working alongside charities to deliver the classes.

To find out more about dads antenatal classes, and to book a space, please visit the Dads Rock website