If you are expecting a baby, you may want to consider taking a class to help you prepare for the big day. A childbirth class teaches much more than just breathing techniques to use during labor. Some focus on pregnancy and labor, while others are more comprehensive. These include information on nutrition, breastfeeding and the post partum period.
A good preparation class will help you overcome the fears associated with labor and birth. The fear of the unknown is a large part of labor fears, especially for first time mothers. You will learn how to tell when labor has started and the stages of labor. In some classes, pain relief options will be discussed. In others, there is more focus on natural birth.
A variety of different breathing techniques are used, depending on the class you take. In some classes, such as Lamaze, the focus is on patterned breathing that is used at different points during labor. In other classes, such as Bradley, the focus is on more relaxed, natural breathing patterns. Some teach distraction, while others teach the mother how to focus on her body and relaxation.
Most classes give information on pregnancy and fetal development. You will learn the danger signs in pregnancy and the signs of preterm labor. You will learn when to call the doctor and some of the more common interventions that are used in birth.
In some classes, you will learn how to communicate with your healthcare provider and making your wishes known. In some classes, you will discuss birth plans and may even write one. This information will help you make informed choices before and during labor.
Some questions to help you compare classes:
* What topics are covered in the class? If you want to learn about newborn care and breastfeeding, choose a class that offers these components.
* Ask about the instructor: certification, experience and philosophy of birth. If you want a natural birth and she is a proponent of pain relief or interventions, this may not be a good match.
* What breathing and pain relief techniques are taught?
* How many classes are offered, how long are the classes and how often do they meet?
* Where are the classes held?
* What do you need to bring to class?
* How many couples are in the class?
* If possible, try to attend a class before you sign up and pay. This will allow you to see if the class is a good fit for you.