Child birthing classes : Way to prepare for labor and birth

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Child birthing classes : Way to prepare for labor and birth

If this is your first pregnancy, you may get a little nervous — maybe even scared — when you start thinking ahead to labor and delivery. That is natural. After all, you have never been through it before! So how do you help calm those nerves? Go to class. If you have not signed up yet for child birthing classes, it is a good time do so.

Childbirth and pregnancy classes for couples help you and your partner prepare for labor and childbirth. Such classes are available at most hospitals and birthing centers, so ask about them at one of your prenatal visits. Typically, the child birthing classes are offered as one- to two-hour sessions over the course of several weeks or as full-day sessions that take place over one or two weekends.

Child birthing classes : Way to prepare for labor and birth
Child birthing classes : Way to prepare for labor and birth

When to take child birth classes

You will likely learn about signs of labor, pain relief options during labor, birthing positions, postnatal care and care of a newborn, including information on breastfeeding. At these classes, you will also learn about what will happen to your body during labor and birth so that you feel positive rather than fearful. Especially if you are a first-time parent, you may find that childbirth classes help calm your fears and answer many of your questions.

Also, as part of your child birthing classes, you may be given a tour of the facility where you will have your baby, so when the big day arrives, you will know where to go and have a better idea of what will happen. You will also likely meet other expectant couples who have questions and concerns similar to yours, which can be comforting. If you plan to have a labor coach, such as your partner, or another loved one, with you during labor and delivery, have him, or she attend childbirth classes with you.

Types of childbirth classes

Different types Some childbirth education classes cover specific types of birthing classes, such as C-section birth, vaginal birth after C-section (VBAC) and multiple births. Refresher courses are also available for parents who only want to review the basics. Other child birthing classes are more general in nature, or they focus on specific methods of childbirth. For example:

  • Lamaze. The goal of Lamaze is to increase self-confidence in your ability to give birth. Lamaze classes support you understand how to cope with pain in ways that both facilitate labor and promote comfort — including focused breathing, movement, and massage. This method is based on the idea that a woman’s inner wisdom guides her through childbirth.
  • Bradley. The Bradley Method emphasizes that birth be a natural process. You are encouraged to trust your body, focusing on diet, drugs and prenatal exercise classes throughout pregnancy. You are prepared to manage labor through deep breathing, a variety of relaxation techniques, and the support of your partner or labor coach.

Many other child birthing classes borrow elements from these modern methods. Also, you may find classes on alternative approaches to childbirth, including hypnotherapy and water birth.

What to look for Look for a class taught by a certified childbirth educator. This may be a nurse, midwife or other certified professional. The child birthing classes should be small — with no more than eight to Ten couples — to facilitate discussion and allow for personalized instruction.

The classes should also be comprehensive, addressing all aspects of labor and delivery, as well as newborn care. Be sure to ask about the cost as well. Childbirth education classes are often recommended near the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy — but anytime before you go into labor is helpful.

Tip

Many hospitals offer childbirth classes online. Check the hospital’s Web site and search for classes that match your schedule. (You might also find some courses on Lamaze, classes for prospective fathers or siblings, etc.) Often, these courses are offered for free. However, you do require to register in advance of the child birthing classes.

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