Childbirth Classes Provide a Healthy Start for New Families
For most expecting parents, pregnancy is a time of good feelings, good health and a tremendous sense of accomplishment. However, in addition to these wonderful experiences, first-time parents can sometimes feel like they are taking a giant leap into the unknown. Concerns about their upcoming labor and delivery, the health and proper care of their newborn, and breastfeeding information can sometimes seem overwhelming. While watching videos, reading books, listening to childbirth stories and visualizing a healthy labor and delivery can prove very helpful – most childbirth experts agree the most effective way to prepare for this important life event is to attend childbirth classes.
“My husband and I read many books and spent a great deal of time researching childbirth on the Internet,” said Alyssa Williams, an expecting mother. “It wasn’t until we attended a series of classes that we felt truly prepared to have our baby. The experienced instructor who taught our classes gave us so much additional information and support – it made all the difference in the world.”
Most parents would agree that bringing a baby into the world can be easier and less stressful when you know what to expect. Childbirth classes can provide a great deal of valuable information, including:
• Learning how to stay healthy and comfortable during pregnancy
• Understanding labor, delivery and the postpartum period
• Relaxation, breathing techniques, comfort measures and pain relief options
• Providing the labor partner with important tools to offer support during the birth process
• Childbirth options
• Medication/anesthesia and hospital procedures
• Benefits of breastfeeding and how to get started
• Infant safety and car seat safety
• Signs and symptoms of pregnancy and post-partum mood disorders
• Newborn care and infant stimulation/development/bonding techniques
• Infant massage and proper infant sling usage
• Community resources and programs that support new moms and dads
Childbirth education is offered in most hospitals, community health centers and birthing facilities, as well as by various organizations. Depending on the program, classes can range from a three to 12 week comprehensive series to a one-day, multi-hour class. Instructors may include labor and delivery nurses, childbirth educators, doulas, midwives and certified childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting professionals.
Childbirth classes may vary in philosophies and curriculum. Expecting parents will have the opportunity to ask questions and gather valuable information that is not always found in books, videos and online. Many couples build stronger bonds with their partners and develop new friendships with other expecting couples.
Regardless of how an expecting couple intends to deliver their child, attending childbirth education classes can help lessen their worries, boost their confidence, empower their abilities to make informed decisions and offer the healthiest, happiest start for baby and new parents.
Childbirth education classes are offered at Flagstaff Medical Center. If you would like more information about these programs, contact Childbirth Education Services at FMC at 928 773-2309 or visit WomenAndInfantsCenter.com.
Kathy Greenberg, R.N., B.S.N., C.C.E., is the Childbirth Education coordinator at Flagstaff Medical Center.