Each woman’s childbirth is a unique experience. You’ve probably read about childbirth and heard countless labor stories from friends and loved ones, but do you know what to expect during labor and delivery? Childbirth classes can help new mothers gain confidence, and veteran moms brush up on their skills.
When should I take childbirth classes?
Childbirth classes are recommended during the last trimester of pregnancy, but any time before you go into labor is helpful. You can take classes earlier in pregnancy if you need more time to build your knowledge. Classes are offered over a period of weeks during the last trimester. The earlier you register, the more options and flexibility you’ll have regarding dates and times. In some areas, classes fill up quickly. Be sure to register early.
What topics will be covered?
- Identify the signs of labor.
- What happens to your body as your baby makes its way into the world. Knowing the signs of labor can help you know when to go to the hospital or call your health care provider.
- You’ll have the chance to talk about your fears with others who share the same concerns. The instructor can dispel myths and help put your mind at ease. Research suggests that people who take childbirth classes know more about labor and delivery and are less likely to have psychological distress than those who didn’t go to classes.
- Childbirth classes offer your partner or labor coach the chance to understand childbirth, too, as well as learn how to support you during labor.
- You’ll practice methods such as breathing techniques, relaxation, and visualization for coping with contractions. Most classes also cover the pros and cons of common medications, such as epidural blocks.
- The basics of medical interventions and complications and how routine interventions can influence the course of labor.
- You may be able to tour the facility where you’ll give birth and find out about its policies and resources.
- Newborn care including choosing a pediatrician, breastfeeding, diapering, and bathing.
How do I find a class?
Most hospitals and birthing centers offer childbirth classes. There are classes available online or in DVD format. Check with your health care provider about classes available in your area. Another valuable resource is people you know who have recently had babies.
What should I look for in a class?
Childbirth classes should be small, with no more than eight to ten couples to facilitate discussion and personalized instruction. Look for a class taught by a certified childbirth educator. In many cases, classes are free, but be sure to ask about the cost, location, and schedule.
Creekside Center for Women is dedicated to providing you with the best women’s healthcare in Northwest Arkansas. Let us know how we can serve you! 479.582.9268