Do I Really Need Prenatal Classes?

Prenatal classes, otherwise known as childbirth education, are a course of sessions offered to pregnant women and their partners in order to prepare them for the birth. Most women and couples take a childbirth education course during the latter weeks of pregnancy, between weeks 24-34. Yet, not everyone is convinced that prenatal classes are really necessary – are the cost and time really worth it? People wonder: Can’t we just read books about childbirth, and watch online birth videos?  In order for you to make an informed decision regarding childbirth education, here is a general description of a prenatal class course.

What A Prenatal Class Course Covers

  • Pregnancy Health: What’s Normal, and What Are Warning Signs?
  • Handling Late Pregnancy Discomforts
  • Explanation about OB and nurse-midwife visits in the 3rd trimester
  • Physical and mental preparation for labor, citing different methods: Lamaze, Bradley, Hypnobirthing, Swedish
  • Stages of Labor: Early, Active, Transition, and Pushing
  • When to go to the hospital
  • Natural birth: Coping with contractions via physical relaxation, breathing techniques, body positioning, the shower, etc. 
  • Medical pain management: Epidurals and Other Methods
  • Mental imagery, emotional  and spiritual support.
  • Labor inductions and labor augmentations
  • Cesarean sections – reasons and recovery.
  • The doula’s role in physical, informational, mental, emotional, and spiritual support.
  • Postpartum: Breastfeeding versus formula; recovery from birth.

Prenatal classes are offered privately by nurse-midwives, or as a group class. Some people prefer the intimacy of one-on-one,  while others enjoy the camaraderie of several couples learning together. Either way, the advantage of taking prenatal classes, versus being self-taught via books and videos, is the personal interaction.  By attending classes, you can bounce your questions and ideas off of the childbirth educator, who is trained to address all concerns. For more information, contact us, and in the meantime, we wish you an easy and healthy pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period.