Why should I attend a childbirth education class? Many parents ask themselves this question. Whether you’re delivering your first child or your fifth, a good childbirth education class can help you feel confident and prepared for your birth experience and bringing your baby home. Before you make a decision, consider these 10 benefits of attending childbirth education classes:
1. What to expect for every stage of labour
Learning how to recognize the signs of labour and knowing how labour is expected to progress in every stage can help to reduce anxiety and fear when the much anticipated day arrives. You’ll learn what is normal and what you can do to help labour progress. Your educator can also help demystify hospital procedures.
2. Knowledge of options and choices – making informed decisions
As a patient, you have a right to make informed choices. Prenatal classes aim to empower you with knowledge of your options and help give you the confidence make informed decisions throughout your birth experience.
3. Calm your fears and reduce anxiety
Fear of the unknown and not knowing how labour will progress is one of the most common fears of birthing people and their partners. This is one of the first things that childbirth education classes address. You and your partner may feel unprepared or overwhelmed with the idea of coping with contractions or taking care of your little newborn baby. Childbirth education classes give you the opportunity to learn what to expect as well as the essential skills you’ll need in labour and for your new baby, so you can give birth and parent with confidence!
4. Bonding with your partner
Attending classes with your partner not only prepares you for birthing and parenting, but it also increases intimacy prepares couples to experience this new chapter together.
5. Techniques to relax
Childbirth classes emphasize the role of the support person and comfort measures for birth, teaching you and your partner various relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, massage, touch techniques, and much more. It’s an opportunity for hands-on practice and getting useful guidance from a professional who is experienced in these techniques.
6. Positions and movement
Using various positions and movements during labour can help your baby into a good position for birth and help labour progress smoothly and relieve pain. Learning these positions and practicing them before labour begins will make it easier to use them effectively during labour.
7. Pain relief options
Epidural is one of many options. There are other pain relief medications and alternative approaches to pain relief. Learn the pros and cons of each option and how to use the epidural and other pain relief methods effectively. Learn how you can still use movement and positioning even with an epidural.
8. Opportunity to ask questions
You may not have a chance to ask your healthcare provider all of your questions during your short appointments. Childbirth education classes are a great place to ask questions freely and get accurate information.
9. Newborn care and breastfeeding basics
Breastfeeding is a learned art. Give yourself the best chance of a good start by learning the essentials of a good latch, breastfeeding positions, what you can do to ensure a good milk supply, and the answer to the frequent question “How do I know if my baby is getting enough?” Learn about your baby’s basic anatomy, what to expect in the first few weeks home, how to bathe your baby, umbilical cord care, soothing techniques and much more.
10. Connect with local resources
Want to know how to get a pediatrician? Want to hire a birth doula or postpartum doula? Interested in reusable washable diapers? When you attend a childbirth education class, you’ll have easy access to information about local resources and promotions.
It is usually recommended to attend childbirth education classes around the 7th month of pregnancy. There are several group prenatal classes available in the Montreal area. Some parents prefer private prenatal classes in the comfort of their own home. No matter where you take your course, make sure to ask about the educator’s training and birth philosophy, so you know that you are getting accurate information and you’re going to a class that will present information relevant to your needs and preferences for birth.