Did you know you can take childbirth classes online? You can take classes at the hospital, outpatient clinic or birthing center. And as many different places you can take childbirth classes there are even more classes available.
So how do you choose the right class to fit your particular situation? What questions do you ask and how do you evaluate the class itself?
When parents are having their first child they can be overwhelmed with questions, concerns and fears. Childbirth classes can help to calm those fears and answer those questions so you approach the birth of your child with greater confidence and ease.
Before you sign up for a class there are questions you can ask that will help you get the most out of the education and the instruction from the classes. Let’s start with the basic questions:
*Who sponsors the class and what is their goals?
*How many classes are in the series what times do they occur?
*Can I visit a class first?
*What are the costs?
*What are the topics that are covered?
*Does the instructor have references?
*How many support people can you bring?
*What are the physical surroundings for the class? Will you be comfortable?
*Will you need to bring anything?
*Is the instructor certified?
But before you ask these questions about the childbirth program you have to have a clear understanding of what the classes will be covering. Each class and instructor will have their own goals for your learning based on the mission of the class.
Classes can share information about childbirth, pain management, vaginal labor, cesarean labor, preparing your other children for the birth of your new child as well as the changes to your body that pregnancy brings or labor/delivery and parenting. Childbirth classes are no longer standard and so evaluating and testing which classes provide the information you need is important to your comfort level during your pregnancy.
Very typically parents take these classes in the third trimester of pregnancy. The difference is women pregnant with multiple children who should take a class in recognizing premature labor in the second trimester. Its a good idea to talk with your doctor about your particular situation. You may also decide to take several different classes and may want to spread them out over several weeks.
There are newer classes that start in the first trimester and travel with the parents through the third trimester to birth.
A childbirth class can also provide you with a great forum to ask questions, find ongoing support and can help you make informed decisions about the key issues around the birth of your baby. Classes are a great place to meet new people who are in the same life position and family growth process as you are which makes for a good way to make new friends. Who better to understand the ups and downs of pregnancy than the people who are going through the same experience?
Most childbirth classes recommend that your have a birth coach who will be there with you through the whole process. Even if the process is a planned cesarean section or you are going to be using an epidural you should have a birth coach who goes through the child birth classes with you and has a good understanding of what will be happening on the exciting day.
If the birth coach is the baby’s father taking classes together can increase his involvement during the pregnancy and is a good way to increase the bond between you. Hell learn why you are experiencing emotional ups and downs, what to expect during the labor and delivery and how to help you through the whole process.
There are even some classes where men are encouraged to discuss their own concerns in a mens only forum and there are other classes especially designed just for new fathers.
As society begins to embrace the need for involvement from grandparents because of the working situation of parents there have been classes developed just for grandparents to give them the information they need to help support you and the baby’s father through the process and to make sure they are up to date on the new techniques used in labor, delivery and early parenting.
Each class wont give you all the information you need to get through the labor and delivery process but the goal of each class is to give you the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions. These classes often reduce your anxiety and provide a variety of coping techniques for pain management. The ultimate goal of every class is to have a healthy mom and baby at the end of the delivery process.
Some of the content may include:
*Warning signs if something is wrong
*Breathing and relaxation techniques
*Pain management options for delivery
*The role of the coach or labor partner
*How to tell when you are in labor
*How you baby develops
*What are the healthy developments during pregnancy
*How to write a birth plan
Other classes will also teach you and your coach about what to expect after your baby is born such as breastfeeding, care of the newborn, and dealing with the emotional changes that happen because you are a new parent as well as the emotional changes to expect because of the hormonal changes after birth.
Your childbirth classes will support one of two philosophies about your pregnancy and birth of your child. The two most common methods in the United States are the Lamaze Method and the Bradley Method.
The Lamaze Method is the most widely taught method. It teaches that birth is a natural and normal process and that women should be educated to approach it with confidence and without anxiety. Classes are focused on relaxation techniques and teaching the mothers body to condition her body’s response to pain through training and practice. Essentially this means teaching mothers to respond to pain with controlled breathing patterns and relaxation as opposed to holding her breath and tensing up.
The typical Lamaze Class includes 12 hours of teaching and has no more than 12 couples in each class. Information that is shared include tips to help your partner be encouraging, how to communicate with your health care team so your needs are met, and complications that could arise and medical intervention that may be necessary.
Contrary to some popular beliefs the Lamaze Method doesn’t advocate for or against the use of pain medications and routine medical interventions during labor and delivery. Instead the method educates the moms about options that are available so they can make informed decisions.
The second birthing philosophy the Bradley Method is also called the Husband-Coached Birth puts more emphasis on the babys father as the birth coach. Different from the Lamaze Method the Bradley Method does advocate strongly against the use of medication during birth unless it is absolutely necessary.
The Bradley Method also stresses the importance of good nutrition and exercise, relaxation and empowering the parents to make decisions together and be informed participants in the birth process.
Other birthing classes teach hypnobirthing course using hypnosis as a relaxation technique, yoga techniques and underwater birthing.
Its important to remember that there is no one right method but the classes you chose must be right for your personality and beliefs as well as those of the baby’s father. For instance, if you are someone who likes to share and is eager to meet people you may like smaller more intimate class sizes. If you don’t like the idea of sharing you may want to look into a larger class.
You may be limited in your choices based on your community size and out reach programs available. Classes can be available at the local hospital, privately, midwives, health care practitioners, and national education organizations. A good place to start looking for available classes is through your obstetrician and your local hospital. Follow up this inquiry with questions to your friends, family and acquaintances who have had babies in the area.
Another place to look for childbirth classes is online. These classes are especially designed for women who cant physically attend a class. For instance for women who are on bed rest or confined to the house. Online classes give these women the chance to have the same education and information that decreases their anxiety and improves their ability to make informed decisions during the birth process.
During both the conception process and throughout pregnancy it is important that hopeful moms maintain their physical well-being and as well as their psychological health.
This broad field of women’s health includes psychological issues surrounding mood, stress and relaxation, as well as physical areas such as infertility, nutrition, morning sickness, labor and delivery and more.
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