You’re expecting your first baby…what an exciting time! So many questions. So much information. Where to begin?? Families are excited about the addition of a new family member. However, parents are often apprehensive about the actual birth. Get the information and confidence you need by attending a Childbirth Education Class. There are several options available to you so it’s important to find the birth classes that best fits your needs.
What should you look for in a childbirth education class?
- A comprehensive curriculum, usually 12-hours or more over multiple days
- A certified instructor
- Lamaze International, International Childbirth Educators Association (ICEA), and Bradley Childbirth Method certify instructors
- When taking classes from a certified instructor you know you will receive the latest research available
Topics that should be covered
- Stages of labor
- Coping techniques and comfort measures
- Medication options and interventions
- Recovery and postpartum
Where can you find a class?
Many hospitals offer childbirth classes. This is a good place to start if you are delivering at that hospital. You will learn about the procedures unique to that facility. If you are delivering at a hospital that doesn’t offer a full education series (e.g., just an orientation and tour) or you are planning a home birth you will need to look elsewhere. You can attend classes at any hospital. Patients are welcome regardless of their birth place choice. There are also independent educators that teach from their homes or local businesses. To find an educator in your area you can look on the Lamaze International or Bradley Childbirth websites. Ask your OB if he/she has a referral.
When should you take class?
It is best to take class around your 28th week of pregnancy. This will require you to enroll around 20 weeks.
What should you expect from the class?
You should acquire a basic understanding of the birth process and how to prepare for it. You should get the information necessary to make informed decisions about your care or at least formulate the questions to ask your health care providers. You should master a wide range of “tools” to help you through the labor process. Partners will learn ways to support mom and be active through the labor and birth. Moms and Dads will build confidence in life after birth, postpartum issues for mom and all about babies. Most of all, you should come away feeling better informed and empowered to be an active participant in your birth rather than a puppet in the process.
Kim Amos is a Childbirth Educator certified through Lamaze International and International Childbirth Educators Association (ICEA). She is also a certified Breastfeeding Educator, certified Birth Doula (DONA International) and Postpartum Doula. Kim is married with 2 grown children. She can be reached at kim @ birthnbabies.info or through her website, www.birthnbabies.info.