DaddyNatal

Antenatal classes for men by men anyone? Meet Daddynatal.

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Introducing Dean, dad of three, the UK’s first antenatal male educator, founder of DaddyNatal and author of The Expectant Dad’s Handbook (fancy winning one? We’ve got 10 copies to give away). Here he talks male antenatal education and tips on preparing for fatherhood.

How did DaddyNatal come about?

“I’d done traditional antenatal classes before my first son Oren arrived but after his waterbirth I came away feeling quite guilty which affected bonding with him. I tried to work out what I’d missed or done wrong and realised I hadn’t been properly prepared for my role. So I went away and spoke to a number of organisations – I got closed doors! There just wasn’t the information available that dads needed. So I did a diploma in childbirth education to qualify me to run antenatal classes.”

Dean with second son Willow

Dean with second son Willow

Tell us about the first DaddyNatal class

“It happened in 2009 with four expectant dads on the course – it was received really well. We had a complete mix of attendees: one from an American air base, one that ran a pub, one a computer engineer…. The feedback was absolutely phenomenal. My wife Steph is also an antenatal teacher so we ran couples’ antenatal classes with Steph facilitating first half and me the second half, ie from mum and dads’ perspective. We became the leading antenatal education provider.”

And DaddyNatal today?

“It’s still going strong – we have classes every month booking up from September onwards. There’s a real appetite for it and we now have four other trained teachers.”

Talk us through a typical DaddyNatal course

“We look at giving dads an understanding of everything that’s going on. We cover pregnancy, changes going on in their partner’s body, we do a lot of work on dad’s role before, during and after birth. We encourage the couple to sit down and discuss making informed choices.”

What type of skills do dads learn on a DaddyNatal course?

“Dads have it in their power to make labour shorter and less uncomfortable for their partner – his presence isn’t passive, he can have a massive impact on the process. The birth hormone is oxytocin but its natural enemy is adrenaline caused by fear or uncertainty. Dads can bring this into the room. If dad starts to worry and mum picks up on it this can stall labour which often leads to artificial oxytocin being administered. That’s why it’s so important that dads are correctly prepared.”

Any other tips?

“Yes, blokes have an in-built ‘fix it’ reflex. Their natural reaction is to want to solve a problem. The way to override it is by giving dads two clearly defined roles: advocate and protector. The advocate role is where dad represents mum’s birth preferences. The protector role is where dad protects mum by eliminating causes of adrenalin or fear to create harmony. If mum doesn’t get on with the midwife remember you’re perfectly within your rights to ask for a change of midwife.”

And any tips for after the birth?

“It’s really important for dads to be the ‘gatekeeper’. Lots of dads only get 14 days’ paternity leave so be selfish with this time! Make sure that every visitor books an appointment and rechecks it’s OK to visit, no drop ins!

Another great tip is to learn the art of the power nap. If baby’s napping, you should too but not more than 30 minutes. And don’t drink loads of coffee – it’s counter-productive!

And when mum’s breastfeeding be on hand to support her. Make sure she’s got a drink to hand as it’s really dehydrating. Cut food into bite-sized chunks so she can eat.”

Starting out on your dad-to-be journey? Shop the essential car seat and pushchair at kiddicare.com. Don’t miss our man Dan’s review of The Expectant Dad’s Handbook and be sure to post a comment to be in with a chance of winning a copy.

 

We currently hold BabyNatal classes at Hedge End, Cribbs Causeway, Lakeside, Rotherham and Merry Hill. See our store finder for details of your nearest store.

3 Comments

  1. The dads at our antenatal classes really enjoyed talking with the midwife, she really included the men and answered all the questions. They came away, my partner included , really confident that they would be supportive to us ladies and that the midwives in the unit would value them.
    Midwives know how to include men…..why does Dean think that they won’t get on?

    Louise Jones
    Reply
    • Our midwife basically ignores any questions I have asked or asked on behalf of my fiancee. I get it im a man im not the one who has the baby inside, but I am the one with the courage to be able to ask the questions as my partner is quite quiet and shy and doesnt like asking people. Ive found this not just with the midwife but most of the hospital staff aswell.one even said sternly this is about the mother not about you as I was asking a question my partner didnt feel comfortable asking.i quickly told her its for the mother that I was asking and just had a dirty look in reply.whats so wrong with the dad trying to help? The baby was conceived mutually an we arnt 16 an doing it for a council house or benefits so why does it seem like dads asking questions or for a little advice is such an evil act and be scorned at?

      mark
      Reply
      • Thanks Mark. We’re disappointed to hear your midwife isn’t taking on board your input and questions – it shouldn’t be that way! Appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

        Kiddicare
        Reply

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