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Are you ready for the birth experience? Childbirth classes can help

Are you ready for the birth experience? Childbirth classes can help

Whether you’re getting ready to become a first-time mom or you have already experienced labor and delivery, the prospect of giving birth can be overwhelming. Childbirth classes can ease anxiety by connecting you with skilled, certified nurses, helping you prepare for labor and birth—and beyond.

From labor pains to breastfeeding

Birthing classes help you know what to expect during every aspect of the birth experience. You’ll learn:

  • The pros and cons of different birthing methods to help you develop a birth plan
  • What happens during different stages of labor
  • How to recognize when you’re going into active labor
  • What you should do when your water breaks
  • How to time your contractions
  • How to make labor and delivery more comfortable, including breathing and relaxation techniques
  • Options for pain management
  • The differences between vaginal birth and Caesarean section

In addition to teaching you how to go through the birth process, most childbirth classes also give you knowledge and skills to help you get ready for what comes after your new family member enters the world. Those skills include everything from the basics of breastfeeding to tips on how to care for your baby at home. In fact, research shows that women who seek perinatal education have a more positive pregnancy and birth experience, as well as an easier transition into motherhood.

Your partner in childbirth

Childbirth classes are also a great way for a partner to get involved in the birth experience. Classes are usually designed for you and a “coach,” who might be your spouse or significant other, a family member or a close friend. This person will be by your side throughout the birth, acting as your coach and giving you encouragement.

During class, your partner can help you learn breathing techniques and ways they can help you feel safe throughout the experience.

Finding the right class

Childbirth classes are not one size fits all; different options are available according to your birth preferences and what you’re looking to get from the class. For example, if you’re not sure what birthing technique is best for you, a general childbirth class can help you learn about different options, including natural childbirth methods, such as water delivery and methods that allow for freedom of movement. Other classes focus on specific techniques, such as Lamaze, a conscious breathing method that is designed to help you relax during labor.

Talking to your doctor can help you decide what type of birthing class is best for you as well as help you feel more prepared. You might want to ask:

  • What type of childbirth class do you recommend, and where can I take it?
  • If you aren’t available, who will deliver my baby?
  • What happens if I go into early labor?
  • Will you induce birth if I go past my due date, and how will that affect my birthing plan?
  • If I plan a natural childbirth in the hospital, can I change my mind during labor?
  • What precautions should I take for an assisted at-home birth?

More ways to prepare

In addition to childbirth classes, other classes are available that can help you feel your best during pregnancy, such as prenatal yoga, classes that focus on postpartum care for both you and your baby, breastfeeding and infant CPR.

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, maternal fetal medicine specialists can offer support, education and resources.

Learn more about our Childbirth and Family Education classes and Evidence-Based Maternal & Neonatal Care at East Jefferson General Hospital.