What Classes Should I Take During Pregnancy?
Pregnancy and childbirth are times of tremendous joys and challenges. Learning what to expect and preparing for future changes can assist couples in making educated choices for their birth experience.
I've read several books on pregnancy. Why would a “Healthy Pregnancy” class be helpful?
Information concerning steps you can take to have a healthy pregnancy is increasing daily. Although many books can provide general information, a class offered by a knowledgeable nurse can provide the most up-to-date information. In addition, it may be helpful for you and your partner to be with other pregnant couples to share the excitement and questions of early pregnancy.
I don't think I'm at risk for having a premature baby. Do I need to take a class on “Preventing Preterm Birth?”
Although there are several identified factors which place some women at risk for preterm labor, 50% of preterm labor occurs in pregnancies not previously considered at risk. Learning to identify the warning signs and symptoms of preterm labor can make the difference of carrying your baby to term rather than delivering a premature baby. Read more on premature labor.
Why Should I take a “Childbirth Preparation” class? I may want an epidural in labor; why do I need to take a prepared childbirth class? Isn't it just about breathing techniques for natural childbirth?
Even with epidural anesthesia, you will experience the process of labor. Childbirth preparation classes provide invaluable information and practical tips regarding all phases of labor. Classes are geared towards educating pregnant women and their partners about the process of labor and birth and the choices, including medications, available to them.
Although several breathing techniques are taught and practiced in childbirth preparation classes, they are only one of a variety of tools (such as relaxation and positioning) discussed in class. Couples are encouraged to use those techniques or their own variations which work for them.
We're both very busy. Can't I get the information I need from watching videos and reading books instead of taking a class?
Most couples find group classes to be the most helpful method of meeting both their need for education and support. Listening to other couples' questions in class and recognizing the normalcy of what they are feeling can be very reassuring. In addition, most of the coping techniques are difficult to grasp just by reading a book or watching a video. Because some class time is devoted to practicing techniques, most couples have increased confidence in their coping skills by the completion of the course.
With your busy schedule in mind, California Pacific Medical Center's Newborn Connections has childbirth education classes available throughout the week, with the option of evening or daytime classes. Classes are structured as one, three- or four-week series.
Is the “Newborn Parenting” series really necessary? My mother will help me take care of the baby.
During your hospital stay, there is only a brief period of time for the nursing staff to teach you about caring for your baby. Learning basic baby care skills including how to calm a fussy baby, what equipment is essential and the basics of breastfeeding are but a few of the skills learned in the “Newborn Parenting” class. Also, many things have changed since your mom cared for her children.
Should my partner come to the “Breastfeeding” class?
It has been shown that having a knowledgeable, supportive partner is a determining factor in the success of breastfeeding. The more your partner learns about breastfeeding, the more support he/she can offer you once breastfeeding begins.
I just had a baby two years ago. Do I need to take another class?
The “Childbirth Refresher” course was designed for those who have had a baby in the last five years. This one-session, three hour class reviews changes in hospital routines and birth practices in the last few years and refreshes you on coping skills, breathing techniques and other strategies. The “Sibling Celebration” and “Breastfeeding Refresher” classes are also highly recommended.
I had a caesarean birth with my first baby; how can I prepare for this birth?
Check with your provider regarding your options for this birth. Also, check with the facility where you plan to deliver regarding any classes they offer that would be applicable.