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Preparedness is key! When people talk about pregnancy and labor, it’s easy to not get the full story. Prenatal and childbirth classes will equip you with the tools and knowledge you need that you won’t always get from friends’ stories or by reading a book. While classes won’t 100% prepare you for the actual event, prenatal and childbirth classes can be huge benefits in your pregnancy journey with first-hand experience and education. See which classes are best to take and why they are so important to help you prepare!
These classes are meant to teach expecting parents about the different aspects of pregnancy and the delivery itself. Instructors will usually talk about what you should expect during your pregnancy, how delivery works, and some tips and tricks to help you and your partner cope in the coming weeks. Education is important to help expecting parents feel confident and able to advocate for themselves during pregnancy.
This class is especially popular for first-time parents. If you’ve never witnessed a birth before, these classes deal with preparing for labor, what to expect during labor, and coping techniques. Even if you’ve gone through the childbirth process before, these classes can help continue to build confidence and learn new techniques. Many classes also give prospective parents a chance to visit the labor ward to see what their environment will look like.
Preparing for your baby after birth will ensure you feel safe and confident once you’re home and handling things on your own. These classes are less common but can include topics like breastfeeding, what to expect when returning home, baby-proofing the house, parenting and relationship skills, postpartum recovery, or even picking the best car seat. Other important topics that may be covered are infant CPR and safety.
Also called husband-coached birth, the Bradley Method is an involved method for both parents that prepares the mother to deliver without pain medications and prepares the mother’s partner to essentially be the mother’s birth coach. Although this method prepares expecting parents to give birth without medications, it also helps prepare for the possibility of unexpected situations, such as an emergency cesarean section.
Lamaze classes approach childbirth as a natural and healthy process. It was designed to help pregnant women understand and feel comfortable with normal labor and birth, breathing and relaxation techniques, and dealing with pain during the birthing process. Lamaze courses focus on a holistic approach to childbirth with a big emphasis on Lamaze rhythmic breathing patterns to help women through labor contractions.
Childbirth education has been shown to reduce fear and anxiety while increasing confidence in expectant mothers. As you learn what to expect, you can better understand the process and how to handle situations. Learning about how to take care of yourself and your child as you prepare to give birth can help in a multitude of ways, as reduced stress leads to a healthier pregnancy and safer delivery.
Many childbirth education courses cover more than just labor and birth. You will learn about how your body will change as your pregnancy progresses and how to take care of yourself and your baby during pregnancy. Your prenatal class teacher will have valuable insights on how to have a healthy pregnancy, which ties into preparing for safe and smooth delivery.
A big benefit of childbirth education classes is learning about the different aspects of labor and delivery. When you have a complete picture of all the ways things can be done, you can decide what will work for you. Your course instructor may help you put your birth preferences in writing for when you go to the hospital, which is often called a birth plan. If not, the information you learn will set you up for confidently creating your own plan.
A lot of the anxiety and fear surrounding pregnancy and childbirth comes from not knowing what to expect once labor begins. Luckily, you have 40 weeks to learn more and familiarize yourself with the process so you feel confident during delivery day. In childbirth classes, you will learn about the stages of labor so you know what to expect, including early labor, active labor, birth, and the delivery of the placenta.
In a study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG), participating in childbirth classes can reduce the rates of adverse delivery outcomes like failed induction and unplanned C-sections. It is believed that increased knowledge and skills in parents who take childbirth classes help the process along and provide a safer and more efficient delivery.
Taking prenatal and childbirth classes is a huge help to your parenting journey. Understanding pregnancy, feeling confident during labor, advocating for yourself during the process, and even learning tips on what to expect after childbirth are all valuable skills to learn. There are many ways to find the right classes for you, including researching online, speaking with friends who have also taken classes, or consulting with your doctor for recommendations on which classes would be best for you.