Prenatal education is one of the best things you can invest in for yourself, your baby and your birthing partner. Yes, the internet and your doctor or midwife are invaluable resources for prenatal and postnatal education. However, there is something unique and very valuable about taking the time to meet with a certified birth educator to learn more about your pregnancy, creating birthing plans, tips for making your way through labor as comfortably as possible (sounds like an oxymoron, right?) and even breastfeeding, diapering and feeding baby once he or she arrives.
Go Back to School For Baby: Childbirth Education Classes Are an Invaluable Resource
Even if you’ve had a baby before (ask instructors about “refresher” courses…), childbirth – or prenatal – education is still a great way to keep up to date on the most contemporary research on labor and birthing assistance, to meet other parents-to-be and to glean information that you might not have learned the first time around.
Here are some of the things that will be covered in a typical prenatal education class:
Nutrition. Nutrition is such an important part of prenatal care. In many ways, it’s more important for you than your baby. We say this because, in most cases, the baby will end up getting what she needs because a mother’s body will begin to strip itself of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in order to provide them for the baby, leaving the mother depleted. Your prenatal instructor will provide information and food guidelines so you can make sure you and your baby are both getting what you need.
Detailed information. Your instructor will provide detailed information, using pictures, drawings and videos, showing you what is going on for your body and your baby in all phases of your pregnancy. She will also teach you about the most common medical interventions and procedures available to you during your pregnancy and birthing process, with a list of their benefits and risks. You’ll learn how to create a birth plan and how to communicate your birth plan to your doctor or midwife.
Birthing strategies. When it comes right down to it, you’ll probably disappear into your own vast universe throughout much of your labor. It’s hard work and it requires a tremendous amount of inner focus. But, the breathing, postural and massage techniques you learn during your classes will provide a wonderful foundation for you and your partner to draw from when contractions are intense and you are waiting for baby to emerge. You will also have a more clear idea of the different signs and stages of labor so you feel more informed as you transition from the beginning, to the middle, to the end.
Post-natal information. Everyone focuses on labor and delivery, but your birthing instructor will help you familiarize yourself with the immediate “what comes after?” questions. Odds are you and your partner will get to practice dressing, changing diapers and feeding baby. You’ll learn all about breastfeeding as well as your healthiest options if breastfeeding isn’t possible for you. Your instructor will also go over some great ideas to protect you, your baby and your family from the onslaught of well-meaning visitors and guests so you can enjoy a healthy, restful and sacred environment in which to fall in love with your new arrival.
Collaborative learning. Perhaps one of the best things about participating in a group class, rather than private classes, is that you benefit from others’ questions, concerns and insights. Perhaps there is a fear you have that will be put to rest. Maybe someone will ask a question or share a story about a scenario you haven’t thought of before. The information that is shared collectively always benefits the whole.
In the Kansas City area, you have the luxury of selecting group or private classes. A variety of prenatal and postnatal group classes are offered at both Shawnee Mission Medical Center and Menorah Medical Center for expecting mothers and their birth partners. Contact their respective birthing centers directly to learn more. There are also several certified childbirth educators in our area, most of whom offer both group and private lessons. We recommend contacting Vanessa Flood via her BirthingBeyond website or by telephone at (913) 485-0298.
Too busy to attend a physical class? Have a partner with a complicated work schedule? No problem! Women’s Health Associates is excited to announce that we offer Online Childbirth Classes that bring the information you need right to your home.
Have questions or concerns about your pregnancy, labor or what comes after? Contact Women’s Health Associates and we’ll do our best to assist you.