A Childbirth Course to the Rescue!

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It’s a good thing it takes 40 weeks to grow a baby. That span of time gives soon-to-be parents a chance to prepare as best they can for the joys and challenges of raising a child. Understandably, you may have a lot of questions or fears about the process of delivering and caring for a newborn baby. One of the most comprehensive ways to learn about pregnancy, labor, delivery, and beyond is to participate in a childbirth course. It can really alleviate the fear, anxiety, and myths about childbirth and help you feel ready and positive about delivering a baby.

Yes, there’s a class for that

There are many different types of childbirth classes out there. Perhaps you would like to learn the basics of labor, delivery, and postpartum care or simply familiarize yourself with the facility and their routine procedures. Or maybe you have an interest in natural birth and want to learn about different options for handling labor pain. There are courses about specific birth methods – such as Lamaze or the Bradley Method – and the various types of birth (VBAC, C-section, multiple births). Regardless of what type of birth fits your unique birth plan, there is likely education available to help you. And if attending a class in person doesn’t work for you, there are options for courses online.

Common curriculum

Even though there is a large variety of childbirth classes available, there are some topics that are generic. Most childbirth courses touch on topics such as:

• The basics of how to care for your newborn – Changing diapers, choosing a pediatrician, and getting your newborn baby to sleep might seem basic, but if you’ve never cared for a newborn before, it’s helpful to start at the beginning.

• What to expect during pregnancy and how to maintain a healthy diet and get proper exercise

• Signs and stages of labor

• Breathing/relaxation techniques during labor and different types of medical interventions

• Address your fears and answer any questions you have

• Help to build confidence in your body’s ability to deliver a baby

• Prepare you for possible complications and how they are addressed

• Instruct your partner and/or labor support coach

• Connect with other couples who are expecting

Who teaches a childbirth course and where?

To find a childbirth education course near you, talk with your medical provider, insurance company, or local hospital or birthing center for information. A childbirth course can range from one all-day crash course to weekly for 6-8 weeks. Make sure to find an instructor who is certified and ask how large the classes are. It’s helpful to write down your questions before you attend the childbirth course. The recommendation is to take a childbirth course during month six or seven of pregnancy, but really any time prior to having the baby is beneficial.

Even if you have had children, chances are there is something new for you to learn in a childbirth course. Knowledge is empowering and can help you cope with the incredible, life-altering event of having a baby. What has helped you feel better prepared to have a baby? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy/art-20044568

http://www.webmd.com/baby/tc/childbirth-classes-topic-overview

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