For most women, the anticipation of holding your baby in your arms for the first time is unexplainable. You want to make sure that you are well equipped with everything you need for the baby and enough knowledge to get things right. It can all become overwhelming whether you are a first-time mother or not.
Birthing classes are an excellent way for expecting mothers to learn about what they should expect during the pregnancy, labour, and delivery processes. Most of these classes accommodate couples because the lessons are valuable to both parties.
However, it is also possible to get lost in all the information you will receive from childbirth classes. That is why you should know what elements to focus on when attending birthing classes.
Why Are Birthing Classes Important?
Some women might feel like they do not need birthing classes or fail to see their benefit. These classes go beyond teaching you what to expect every step of the way, but they also give you an in-depth understanding of what it means to welcome a baby into your life.
Couples expecting their first child do not often realize the changes they need to make to accommodate the baby. It means changing your lifestyle at least for the first few months when your baby is born. You also have to deal with feeding, bathing, and sleeping schedules, not to forget embracing sleepless nights.
It does all sound frightening at first, but with a roadmap on the A to Z of pregnancy and delivery, you are in a much better position to face everything head-on.
What Do You Learn From Childbirth Classes?
The changes that come with pregnancy are often the first aspects handled by prenatal classes. Newly expectant mothers never quite know how their bodies will change as their pregnancy progresses because it is always different with every woman.
Some women will gain a significant amount of weight or suffer through some pregnancy-induced conditions. For instance, swelling of the feet and enlarging of the breasts are some of the characteristic changes most women experience. They can affect a woman’s confidence, but understanding that these changes are necessary to accommodate your growing baby can ease your mind about them.
Birthing classes also teach your partner about the kind of support you need during the different stages of pregnancy including labour, delivery, and after you take the baby home.
It gives your partner a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities, which will make the process of transitioning to a couple with a child more comfortable according to Dr Shelly Rowlands from EMOG.
Labour and Delivery
Amongst the most crucial aspects of these classes are the lessons about labour and delivery. You will get a rundown of the labour process, an explanation of your choices including making the decision between an elective c-section or having a vaginal birth. Most classes also delve into the medical and natural options for pain relief during labour.
A few facilities go the extra mile and give tours of birthing centres or the hospital where you intend to give birth.
Most go beyond the pregnancy process and teach you how to take care of your newborn baby. The most common things you will learn include how to bathe your baby, change their diapers, burp them, and soothe them. You might also get lessons about breastfeeding from these classes.
Most importantly, birthing classes allow you to ask all the questions you have about the entire process. Most have knowledgeable instructors who can talk you through the problems you already face and complications you foresee.
Different Types Of Birthing Classes
Individual birthing classes take on different approaches when it comes to teaching about the labour and delivery process.
Some focus on the Lamaze method, which rationalizes the birthing process as a natural, healthy, and normal process. They also cover several aspects of pregnancy, giving birth, breastfeeding, and caring for your newborn.
The Bradley approach prepares expecting women and their birth coach for natural and unmedicated childbirth. The intensive classes take place over a 12-week period.
Hypnobirthing focuses on dispelling the stress and fears pregnant mothers/couples have about the labour process. The result is a calm and relaxed delivery experience.
The Birthing From Within method takes a holistic approach to help labouring mothers embrace a greater awareness during the birthing process. The classes focus on the entire process from pregnancy leading to delivery.
At-home birth classes cover elements about nutrition, coping with pain naturally, medication intervention, and breastfeeding. It is ideal for expecting women on bed-rest or those with limited time. Most are online classes while some include a one-on-one instruction model with a professional childbirth educator.
The Elements To Focus On During Childbirth Classes
You can sign up for childbirth classes at the hospital you visit for your pregnancy clinics of a birthing centre. The first essential aspect to consider is whether the instructor in charge of these classes is certified. You obviously want to receive accurate and reliable information from a professional.
During the preliminary process of choosing the right childbirth class, you should also figure out the instructor’s labour and delivery beliefs. Some instructors may focus too much on selling their preferred labour and delivery choices. You want a birthing educator who can give you comprehensive information about all available options and allow you to make the decision for yourself.
Not all birthing classes will cover the same topics, and some may exclude some subjects that you deem beneficial to your situation. For instance, most newly pregnant women would want to know how their partners will benefit from the classes. Get an outline from a few childbirth educators to help you make the decision.
The cost of the classes is equally important because a baby comes with several expenses and you do not want to break the bank at this point. Some hospitals might offer the classes complimentary to women who visit them for their antenatal clinics. More than often, birthing centres will charge a fee to attend this classes. Your personal budget should guide this decision, but you should make sure that you are getting value for your money.
To wrap it up, attending birthing classes help to guide you and remove the fears associated with pregnancy. They also enable you to interact with other expecting mothers/couples. Most importantly, you can get the answers to most if not all the questions you have about pregnancy and delivery from these classes.