A lthough a dress rehearsal is not a possibility when it comes to labor and delivery, when the curtain rises for your scene, it’s too late to learn your role. Information and planning are all you can rely on to get you to the final credits of your labor day.
WHY should I take a childbirth class?
Childbirth classes are the time for you to gain confidence in your body’s ability to give birth, make informed decisions and address any concerns and/or fears you and your partner may have. Some say it is the most fascinating course they have ever taken.
WHEN should I take a class?
The general rule of thumb is to take a class that will leave you with 8-10 weeks remaining in your pregnancy. This time will allow you to reflect on what you learned, make a plan and give you enough cushion time should your little one make an early debut.
WHAT should I expect from a childbirth class?
www.BabyCenter.com recommends finding a class that covers the following:
- Signs of labor
- Normal progress of labor and birth
- Techniques for coping with pain
- How your partner can help you during labor
- When to call your doctor or midwife
You should also expect a dose of biology class, as your instructor will describe (and probably show a video) of the details of labor from start to finish. Although some may be tempted to take a long restroom break during this portion, watching the entire video will prove to leave you feeling more confident and in control of your body because you know what it will be going through.
Describing the most beneficial part of her childbirth class, Stacey Nierman, Overland Park first-time mom to Beckett, says, “Taking the class with my husband opened the line of communication in regards to what our expectations were during labor and delivery. We left the class knowing what we should expect on the day of delivery so all that was left was the actual experience.”
Beyond a basic birthing class, other classes are available that cover the whole range of pregnancy and post-partum needs. Some local classes listed on www.KCParent.com that go beyond the birth are:
- Baby Basics 101
- Breastfeeding Successfully
- Infant Massage
- Holistic Pregnancy—Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby
- Cesarean Birth
Childbirth: Natural Strategies
WHERE can I find local childbirth classes?
Most hospitals offer childbirth classes. They cost around $60-$100 and have around 10-15 couples. The classes are usually taught by someone who has experienced numerous births as a labor-and-delivery nurse and is also a certified childbirth educator.
If the hospital isn’t your ideal classroom setting, private classes are available. These classes tend to be smaller than a hospital class and can be set anywhere from a living room to a yoga studio or church. The price point is typically higher than a hospital class, ranging from $60 to $350, depending on the class. Michelle Jones, expecting her first baby this September, is choosing a private birthing class with a certified doula. “I'm choosing to use a doula for our birthing class because I've grown to trust her through her pre-natal yoga classes. I feel like her goal is to educate me about all my options for childbirth, which will allow me to make the best choice for myself,” Jones says.
Nothing in this life is unaccompanied by an app, including childbirth classes. www.Babycenter.com has a FREE iPad app that includes a two-hour childbirth class you can watch at your convenience. This is proving to be a popular choice for second-time parents or mothers put on bed rest for the end of their pregnancies. Hospitals also have DVD options of their childbirth classes that are designed for similar situations.
Remember, though, attending in person is the best option, as the interaction between instructor, students and classmates can enrich the experience.
Amanda Doll’s “final credits” are two little boys who rule the roost in Lenexa.
As always, please consult with your medical provider with any health concerns.