Nothing can fully prepare you for childbirth, but understanding its process and available options may make the experience less scary. Speak with your physician or hospital where you plan on giving birth for classes available near your location.
Some classes are affiliated with hospitals; others may be privately run or online. Your selection will depend upon both your preferences and instructor philosophy.
1. Knowledge is Power
Knowledge gained during a prenatal care class can provide peace of mind as you enter the last trimester and help build strong support networks with other expecting parents. With your due date approaching quickly, questions regarding labor and delivery may arise that require answers; having access to an expert instructor through their class is one way of eliminating this stressor altogether.
Even if you’ve had experience giving birth before, taking a prenatal care class is an invaluable way to refresh yourself on what to expect and how best to deal with the discomfort of labor and delivery. Some classes focus on alternative forms of pain relief like hypnobirthing (which relies on the idea that women’s bodies were created to facilitate birth efficiently and comfortably).
Ateah found that while most participants reported being aware of topics covered in prenatal classes such as creating a safe sleep environment, preventing shaken baby syndrome, and anticipated development, many felt information related to infant care and safety wasn’t sufficiently addressed. Another similar study from Best Start Resource Centre suggested a majority of their participants felt this information should be included as part of prenatal education classes.
2. You Can Ask Questions
If you have questions about labor and delivery, taking a prenatal class can be an opportunity to pose them in a supportive setting. Your instructor, usually a certified childbirth instructor or registered nurse, can offer answers that help ease anxiety. Furthermore, looking into their philosophy and background to ensure it aligns with what’s important to you is also useful – often these details can be found online at various class websites; sometimes hospitals or medical centers even offer prenatal classes as a service to their patients.
3. It’s Good for Your Relationships
Your relationships formed during group prenatal care will extend far beyond its conclusion. Women frequently report that these friendships become invaluable sources of support after giving birth, particularly for women without established friendship groups that include mothers. Furthermore, the informal nature of these relationships can increase self-efficacy which refers to confidence in one’s ability to affect positive change (Rodrigo, Martin Maiquez & Rodriguez 2007).
No matter how well-prepared you may feel for childbirth, childbirth classes will provide invaluable knowledge about labor and delivery as well as baby care, breastfeeding and feeding issues. Women who have partners are welcome to bring them along; this gives partners an opportunity to learn what support is required during and postpartum for the delivery process.
If you are seeking prenatal care without the presence of your partner, considering attending women-only prenatal classes could help you meet other expecting solo mothers or those whose partners cannot make appointments at once. Women-only classes could also provide more accurate insight into pregnancy without an added layer.
4. It’s Good for Your Baby
Prenatal care classes provide essential instruction on topics relating to labor and delivery for first-time parents. They give first-timer parents an opportunity to prepare, anticipate and cope with various stages of childbirth.
Additionally, classes may cover breastfeeding, infant CPR and general parenting tips – these sessions can help both first-time and repeat parents feel more secure about their abilities as new parents.
Attending prenatal care classes provides another advantage: meeting other expectant parents. Meeting other expecting couples can be an invaluable opportunity to form lifelong bonds that provide both friendship and support once your baby arrives – essential tools in navigating parenthood’s ups and downs!
Women unable to attend prenatal care classes still must make sure to attend all their appointments; the information gained will help them and their babies remain healthy during gestation. Studies have revealed that babies born from mothers who did not regularly attend prenatal visits had three times greater odds of low birth weight and five greater chances of dying than those whose mothers did attend prenatal visits regularly.