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Prenatal Classes and Their Many Benefits

For first-time expectant parents, prenatal classes are invaluable. Labour and birth is often faced with anxiety, even fear, by first-time expectant mothers. Prenatal classes help pregnant women feel empowered, that they know what to expect. This takes away the mystery and makes a positive birth experience more likely. Women are encouraged to bring a support person to the classes – often, this is the baby’s father, who can learn a lot of helpful information he can use.Prenataclass f06f - prenatal classes and their many benefits

Labour + Birth Topics

  • Pre-term labour.
  • What can be done to make labour more comfortable (relaxation and breathing techniques, different birthing positions, jacuzzi, birthing balls, etc.).
  • Options available to help manage pain.
  • Making a birth plan.
  • Role of a support person (father, doula,midwife, friend or family member).
  • Possible medical interventions.
  • Caesarean births.

A Healthy Pregnancy
Today’s prenatal classes cover more than labour and birth, such as eating well, taking folic acid to prevent neural tube defects and avoiding alcohol and drugs.

Non-Labour + Birth Topics

  • Importance of skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby right after birth.
  • Newborn appearance and behaviour.
  • Your body after the birth.
  • Feeding (including discussion on the benefits of breastfeeding and minimizing any problems).
  • Keeping your baby safe.
  • Caring for your baby.
  • Baby growth and development.
  • Baby equipment and supplies.
  • Postpartum depression.
  • Different approaches to parenting (this stimulates discussion between parents).
  • Community resources and programs.

Meet Other Parents
Another benefit is the chance to meet other expectant parents who share the same expectations and concerns.
Some parents even meet after the births to socialize and meet each other’s babies!

Prenatal Classes Near You
Prenatal classes are offered through hospitals and public health units, as well as privately, such as through colleges and other groups.
Look into and register for prenatal classes around week 16 of the pregnancy; they sometimes fill up quickly!

Published in March 2007

a man carrying two children

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