Birthing classes are generally recommended in the last three months (last trimester) of pregnancy. You may, however, enroll in a birthing class anytime during pregnancy. Some women feel that joining a birthing class early in the pregnancy gives them enough time to learn, adapt, and prepare for the delivery. Early registration also gives the advantage of choosing the dates and time schedules according to individual preferences. There may often be limited seats available for the classes, and early registration may be important. Women who already have children may go for shorter classes later in pregnancy, which may act as a refresher course for them. Thus, the right time to take birthing classes depends on the individual’s preferences.
What is the importance of birthing classes during pregnancy?
Birthing classes play a crucial role in preparation for having a baby. They help create confidence in the parents-to-be by making them understand the various aspects of childbirth. These classes help people to share their concerns, doubts, and experience related to childbirth. Most of the birthing classes are designed to involve the expecting mother and her partner (a spouse, friend, or relative) to get involved in the journey toward having a baby. The partner in turn becomes a great source of support and encouragement to the expecting mother. Birthing classes are important, not just for first-time parents but for people who already have children. This is because they act as refresher classes for the ones who have been through this experience.
Birthing classes help people learn about
- The various methods of delivery.
- Painless labor and options for such.
- Staying healthy during pregnancy, including a proper diet and exercise during pregnancy.
- Pain management options during labor.
- The signs that tell you that you are going in labor.
- What has to be done when the water breaks.
- How to make the delivery experience more comfortable, including the techniques for breathing and relaxation.
- Basics of breastfeeding.
- Caring for the newborn at home including first aid for the baby.
What are the various types of birthing classes in the United States?
Two of the most popular birthing classes in the United States are as follows:
- Lamaze: This birthing technique is quite popular in the United States. The essence of this method is making a woman comfortable during labor so that she can make her own decisions. It focuses on breathing techniques that help move focus away from the pain of contractions. It uses other relaxation techniques including walking, massage, and using a birthing ball (similar to an exercise ball). Although Lamaze encourages natural childbirth without using medications or epidural anesthesia, a woman practicing Lamaze can also take medications during her labor.
- Bradley method: The Bradley method is a 12-week course that focuses on having a baby with no or minimal need for medications. It includes a detailed curriculum and study guide to prepare you for the entire process of having a baby starting from pregnancy. It prepares both the mother and her birthing partner who acts as a coach to participate in her journey of having a baby. The coach learns how to support and guide the mother through the pain. The Bradley method also teaches about effective birthing positions to minimize the pain.
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