ANYONE who has been to a maternity unit-run prenatal class will tell you the same thing: the sessions are long, cringeworthy, often sleep-inducing and are punctuated by outdated birthing videos.
Yet despite often poor feedback from attendees, rising birth rates mean demand for classes has outstripped supply in St George and Sutherland Shire.
Midwives Narelle Stark and Sallee Dwyer were so concerned about the number of pregnant women turning up at hospital unprepared or with unrealistic birth expectations that they started Midwife to Mum, which offers group or private prenatal classes.
Mrs Dwyer said she was often told by new or expectant mums they could not book a hospital-run prenatal class because they were full while others said they did not like the content.
"Women that were trying to book in to the hospital class after 12 to 14 weeks could not get in," she said. "Some obstetricians were not getting good feedback so they were not promoting the classes."
She said some parents-to-be were also reluctant to sign up to hospital-based classes because of the time factor or they were planning a caesarean.
"A lot of women do not want to spend six nights at a class and a lot of people that knew they were having a caesarean wouldn't go," Mrs Dwyer said.
They said their group classes were smaller — a maximum of 10 couples instead of 16 — and ran over six hours on a Saturday. Private lessons ran for up to four hours and were tailored to individual needs.
Both classes usually cover labour, pain relief, the birth, caring for the baby, feeding and postnatal support.
"With private lessons, people might not feel embarrassed about asking that question they might not ask in class," Mrs Stark said.
They have sourced a more up-to-date birthing video and also provide an information booklet.
They said being working midwives meant they had first-hand experience of what happened in the birthing suite and their classes helped couples form "more realistic expectations" of birth and early parenting.
Alana Vaughan, of Grays Point, opted for a private antenatal class, which she found very informative.
"It was very good, very comprehensive. They had a lot of resources and information on everything from having the baby to breastfeeding," she said.
"They went through every single thing that could occur. I ended up having an emergency caesarean but we fully understood everything that was going on.
"They gave me a lot of good tips, down to what underwear I should wear after a caesarean. Even the midwife at the hospital said: "Someone gave you some good advice"."