WHY SHOULD I TAKE A PRENATAL CLASS?
If you are trying to decide if you need to take a prenatal class or not, you may want to consider these points:
How prepared do you feel you already are for this experience?
If you are involved in birth or child care to some degree or another you may not feel you need further education. However in that case your partner may want to take a class so that they are able to support you through this experience and they have a good idea of what to expect.
Examine your own birth beliefs.
For example: Is birth something you are afraid of? Have you only heard negative things about breastfeeding? Do you feel you’ll be fine with birth as long as you trust your body? Look closely at your assumptions. These can have a great effect on your labour and early parenting experience. A prenatal class can help you to explore your fears and assumptions about birth and to clarify and educate you on all of the twists and turns labour and early parenting can take. This way you are able to approach your experience with a clear and open mind.
When you applied for your driver’s license you had to take some sort of driver’s training program. If you didn’t you could be a danger to yourself and to other drivers and pedestrians. In a similar vein, knowing what to expect in labour, how to manage the unexpected, and how to care for yourself and your baby means that you are able to safely navigate through your birth and early parenting experience.
WHEN SHOULD I TAKE A PRENATAL CLASS?
We recommend taking a class around 6 to 7 months into your pregnancy. This is close enough to the due date that you can see if positions and comfort measures will be effective for labour and far enough out that if you learn something new and want to make changes to your birth or postpartum plans, you have time to do so.
WHAT CLASS SHOULD I TAKE?
As nurses, doulas and childbirth educators, we really feel that group classes support the best learning, providing that you are learning from a qualified instructor.
If this is your first child and you and/or your partner do not have much experience with infants, consider either our FULL PRENATAL or our BIRTHING FROM WITHIN classes. Both options will cover all birth and postpartum-related topics.
If you don’t have time for a weekend class or you have some birth and baby knowledge, then consider our CONDENSED session – four hours of the most important info for birth and immediate postpartum.
If your baby experience is limited or non-existent our BABY CARE 101 session will have you feeling confident and ready to handle the first six months of parenting. It’s also a wonderful option to have first time grandparents attend.
If you are hoping for a homebirth or your partner is planning to be the doula for your labour, check out our NATURAL PAIN MANAGEMENT SESSION.
PRIVATE CLASSES can be great if your schedule doesn’t allow for a fixed time or if you have a unique situation that you would prefer not to share in a group, such as surrogacy, multiplesor pregnancy following a miscarriage or loss.
SOME FINAL THOUGHTS:
Prenatal classes set the stage for a well-prepared parenting journey. As labour and delivery nurses and doulas, we can always tell if a couple has attended a class or not. If they struggle to work as a team in labour. If they grapple with making decisions or feel overwhelmed if an obstacle presents itself. Couples who don’t attend prenatal classes are also more likely to have issues with feeding their baby.
In addition, we believe that prenatal preparation can help reduce and prevent Birth Trauma. We know that one of the aspects of birth trauma is unmet expectations. Setting unrealistic expectations of yourself and your birth sets you up to feel like a failure if things do not go as planned. Having a skilled professional childbirth educator guide you and share the knowledge you need can be the key to preventing trauma. Realistic expectation setting is so very important.
We have had many couples comment to us after their child was born, that they were so glad they took a prenatal class. That they felt prepared and that if unwished for events occurred they knew what their options were, where to get more information, and what questions to ask.