It’s an exciting time for you — your family is growing, and you’re getting prepared. These days, a lot of women are are choosing Internet resources over a pre-natal class.
If you want reliable information about childbirth, you should still attend a childbirth class.
If you’re in the market, here are ten things you should be looking for in a class.
Know the Styles of Pre-Natal Class
Not all pre-natal classes are created alike. In fact, there are several distinct styles of childbirth class.
Three common examples are:
Regardless of the class, you should choose something that you’re comfortable practicing with your partner before birth. With that in mind, take the time to investigate the various styles and see what appeals to you.
Know What to Look For
Whatever style of pre-natal class you choose, you should know what makes a good class. All good classes have a few things in common.
Most quality classes, for example, will include at least 12 hours of instruction spread out over a period of days or weeks.
Class content should include topics like labor, birth, the newborn, and the early postpartum stage, with an emphasis on pain management. Regardless of content, the course should empower you and your partner to make informed decisions about birth.
Content aside, classes should be relatively small — no more than 10-12 couples maximum. This will make sure you can get individual attention and get your questions answered.
Know Where to Look
In the age of the Internet, you have some options.
The easiest place to start is by asking friends or family if they have any recommendations. This will give you some ideas about where to start looking — maybe even a few that didn’t occur to you on your own.
If you don’t have time to attend a class in person, some providers offer online options. There are also childbirth classes designed for busy parents which are completed in the course of a few days or a weekend so that you don’t have to budget your time over a long period.
Ask the Right Questions
Regardless of the class, you’re checking out, you should ask the right questions to make sure the class is the right fit for you. A few good questions include:
- Does the class align with your birth philosophy?
- Are you comfortable with the instructor?
- Are you comfortable with the class size?
- Does it occur at a convenient time?
- Where will the class occur?
- Is the location convenient?
- Are you comfortable with the class location?
- Does your partner agree with your assessments?
Above all, you should find a class that makes you feel comfortable and ready to give birth. The best class for you will meet most or all of these criteria.
Be Open to New Ideas
That said, you should also be open to ideas that you might not have considered.
We’re all drawn to classes that most align with our own philosophies. That’s a good thing — it means you’ll feel comfortable walking through the door to start asking questions.
Exploring another approach might teach you something you wouldn’t encounter elsewhere and allow you to think about things differently. You never know what might be helpful, so why not explore your options?
A lot of classes sound great on paper. As with college, there are some that won’t click with you the way you hoped.
If something doesn’t resonate with you, don’t be discouraged. Take it as a sign to keep exploring until you find something you really like.
And remember to keep an open mind. Maybe one section of a class won’t work for you but another will. Give it a chance before you decide to try something new.
Seek a Variety of Tools and Tricks
With that in mind, you should look for a pre-natal class that offers a variety of pain management methods.
Everyone deals with discomfort in different ways, and you won’t know what will suit you best until you’re in the moment. Kind of like when you stub your toe. Maybe you walk on it right away and tough it out, maybe you sit and wait for a minute. It all depends.
As such, it’s best to have a variety of options at your disposal — you never know which one will prove the most useful.
And remember: keep an open mind! Something you weren’t initially interested in could wind up being super useful.
Check Your Instructor’s Credentials
Take a pre-natal class from someone who knows what to teach you and how to teach it.
The easiest way to do this is to check your instructor’s credentials. Lamaze International and the International Childbirth Education Association both offer certification, and a nationally branded class method will often tell you what stamps or certifications they give their instructors.
Don’t be shy about asking your instructor to see their credentials. They know that this is an important time for you, and they’re here to help.
Find a Class That Helps You Find Your Calm
This is an exciting time for you. Sometimes it can be scary too. And that’s totally okay.
Above all, a pre-natal class should help you feel calm, secure, and ready for birth. If you really like a method but aren’t comfortable in the class, don’t worry about it. Take the time to find a class that makes you feel comfortable.
This also relates to a thing called birth fear. Let’s be honest: giving birth is intense, and if you’re nervous, you’re not alone. There’s nothing wrong with being nervous, just like there’s nothing wrong with being nervous before a big presentation.
The important thing is to find a class that helps you handle your fear — or, if you’re not scared and just want to feel prepared, you should find a class that does that for you.
Be Kind to Yourself
Finally, be kind to yourself. This can be a stressful process, but it doesn’t have to be. The goal of classes like this is to help soothe your stress, not add to it.
If you’re feeling stressed out by the process, step back, take a deep breath, and remember you don’t have to conquer the world all at once. You’re doing things your way, and you’re doing just fine.
Meeting the Needs of Your Kids as They Grow
As all mothers know, the process doesn’t stop at birth. Your kids will grow like weeds, and they need medicine and support to keep them healthy and happy.