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Childbirth Classes: Get Ready for Labor and Delivery



You've probably read about childbirth and heard countless stories from friends and loved ones. Do you really know what to expect during lab and delivery, though? Childbirth classes can help demystify the process.

Why should I take childbirth classes?

Do you deliver your first child or fifth childbirth classes? Consider the opportunities:

  • Learn things you never knew about labor, delivery, and postpartum care. You'll find out how to identify the signs of the lab and what happens to your body
  • Addressing your fears. During childbirth classes, you'll have a chance to talk about your fears with other women. The instructor can dispel myths and help put your mind at ease.
  • Connect with your partner or lab coach. Childbirth classes offer your
  • Discuss options for handling pain. You'll practice methods such as breathing techniques, relaxation, and visualization for coping with contracts. Most classes also cover the pros and cons of common medications, as well as epidural blocks.
  • Get out of the way the facility. You may tour the facility where you'll give birth and find out about its policies and resources.
  • Brush up on newborn care. You'll likely get a primer on newborns. Common topics include choosing a pediatrician, breast-feeding, diapering, and bathing.

Some childbirth classes cover specific types of births, such as C-section, vaginal birth after C- section (VBAC), and multiple births. Refresher courses are available for parents who simply want to review the basics. Other classes focus on specific methods of childbirth. For example:

  • Lamaze. The goal of Lamaze is to increase confidence in your ability to give birth. Bradley. The Bradley method emphasizes birth as a natural process. You're taught to manage labs through relaxation techniques and support your partner or lab coach.

Many other classes include elements from a number of methods. In addition, you may also find other ways to treat childbirth, such as hypnobirthing-which incorporates self-hypnosis and deep relaxation.

Whatever class you choose, take it easy with the information and method.

Childbirth classes are offered at most hospitals and birthing centers. Some classes are available online or in DVD format.

Ask your health care provider about classes available in your area. A representative from your medical insurance plan might offer suggestions. You might also check with parents who had recently had babies.

Look for a class taught by a certified childbirth educator. Childbirth classes should be small-with no more than eight to ten couples-to facilitate discussion and allow personalized instruction.

Childbirth classes are often recommended in the last trimester of pregnancy-but anytime before you go into labor.

Often a series of classes is offered over a period of weeks during the last trimester. The earlier you register, the more options and flexibility you'll have.

What's my health care provider's role?

Your health care provider is there to help ensure your health and your baby's health during pregnancy and delivery. Your health care provider also wants to provide educational materials and instructions throughout the course of your pregnancy. Ask questions and share any concerns you may have about your delivery.

With your health care provider's input, use what you learn in your childbirth classes to create a birth plan. No One Can Predict Labor And Delivery Will Unfold, But Together You Can Design A Birth Plan That Meets Your Expectations for laboratory, delivery and postpartum care and promotes the best care for you and your baby.

Updated: 2017-06-02

Publication Date: 2005-07-26


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