If you are expecting, it is essential to plan for its arrival. Many insurance policies and Flexible Spending Accounts cover childbirth classes for optimal preparation.
Learn the fundamentals of pregnancy physiology, hospital procedures, pain management strategies and cesarean delivery in this three-week class series at Tucson Medical Center’s Labor and Delivery Unit. Additionally, this tour is included.
Preparation for Childbirth
Experts strongly advise expecting parents to attend pregnancy and childbirth classes, from normal physical discomforts to labor and birth itself. Classes typically take place through hospitals, birth centers or women’s health groups in person and some even include tours of these facilities.
A good childbirth class should provide both natural methods for relieving or managing pain (such as massage, acupressure, aromatherapy or using a birthing ball), as well as medicated pain-relief options. Furthermore, it should address psychological and emotional aspects of labor as well as how involved you want to be in your own birth experience.
If you are planning a natural birth, take a three-week Lamaze International class. These sessions cover topics like breathing techniques, relaxation methods and coaching techniques – and will give you time to practice before the big day comes.
An alternative option for preparation for vaginal birth after cesarean is taking part in a one-night class geared specifically toward postpartum recovery and vaginal birth after cesarean. This course can accommodate women in their first or early second trimesters and offers information regarding labor, birthing process and postpartum recovery.
Childbirth education classes provide a valuable glimpse into the physiology and strategies surrounding labor, medical interventions and pain management options as well as breathing techniques and mock birth scenarios to prepare students. Their curriculum may vary based on the instructor, with common examples including breathing strategies, mock birth simulation and hospital procedures and delivery options being discussed during class sessions.
In-person classes range from intensive one-day workshops to longer, weekly sessions that last several months. Many hospitals provide these, while you can also search online.
NYU Langone’s Understand Childbirth class can be found online and includes both downloadable course materials that you own as well as live virtual sessions with an instructor who can answer questions. This six-week course covers labor and delivery as well as signs and symptoms of preterm birth, cesarean procedures, newborn care needs and much more.
The Mama Natural Birth Course is another highly-recommended option, led by nurse-midwife Maura Winkler (author of “The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth”) as well as Genevieve Howland, founder of the Mama Natural website and author of “The Motherly Birth Class”. Both courses include weekly video lessons, downloadable worksheets, wellness meditations and wellness meditations.
Kopa Birth offers a Lamaze-inspired program, teaching moms how to utilize various labor positions and tools in a hospital environment to assist with an unmedicated delivery. This can include deep abdominal breathing and other relaxation techniques which may help avoid pain medication as well as standard interventions like cesarean section.
Expectant parents often overlook the need to prepare for life after birth – known as the fourth trimester – during their pregnancies and childbirth. Pregnancy care class alone won’t do it!
As well as physical recovery, this period involves healing and adapting to becoming new parents. A case manager, nurse or other trained professional can provide essential postpartum support, including information on where you can find resources.
Robyn, an online database of wellness specialists that includes doulas, fitness trainers, pelvic floor therapists, mental health therapists, coaches and acupuncturists is another helpful resource. Use Robyn to locate an appropriate provider near you and schedule appointments directly on their site.
Basic baby care classes cover topics like how to swaddle a newborn, communicating with your infant and providing general feeding information. Some doulas also offer these courses which are especially helpful for new parents.
If you are expecting twins or triplets, Managing Multiples classes at Morristown Medical Center provide practical advice for how to best prepare and deal with their arrival. Topics covered in this course include home preparations, taking care of siblings and how older children can help during this difficult period.
Baby Basics classes provide parents with valuable insight into newborn characteristics and daily care for newborns. Topics covered may include anatomy and physiology, swaddling, infant feeding, common symptoms/concerns addressed as well as safety considerations when introducing a sibling for the first time, safety in relation to other children, etc. Furthermore, this class also features a tour of the maternity center!
Tinyhood offers online classes covering pregnancy, childbirth and basic baby care for expectant parents who don’t live near an instructor. Classes feature both video content and PDF worksheets for accompanying learning materials – typically lasting around 30 minutes with an intimate feel! Note that Tinyhood recently switched to a subscription model; thus requiring users to purchase membership to access its courses.
Baby Basics is a volunteer-run project dedicated to supporting mothers struggling financially and practically with looking after a newborn. Working in collaboration with frontline health and social care professionals, Baby Basics supplies essential items like clothing, formula, diapers and baby products directly to mothers who meet specific criteria. First established in Sheffield in 2009, it now boasts multiple centers throughout the UK as well as partnerships with community groups that ensure these products reach those in need directly.