Most hospitals have really great newborn and birth education classes. So if you make time to attend any number of classes, and can ideally attend them all at least four to six weeks before your expected due date, you’re going to feel ready and prepared. You’re going to feel that you learned everything you need to know about baby care, about breastfeeding, about safety, about the process of labor and birth, and about all your options. You should definitely make it a priority to attend all the classes you can.
The classes are for you as a couple, there is not a class that you need to come to alone without your partner. That question comes up a lot regarding breastfeeding classes, “Does my partner need to attend?” Of course your partner is welcome to attend and should attend, because new moms heavily depend on their partner’s knowledge and understanding and their support. If your partner did not believe in breastfeeding and did not understand its benefits — because it is the best food for newborns, and that’s what science says — then how would they support you? How would they wake up in the middle of the night when the baby cries due to hunger, to help you out? How would they make sure that you breastfeed in public as comfortably as you can? So all the classes are for you as a couple, including classes on breastfeeding.
If you wish to bring any other family members to class, especially CPR class, that would also be a great idea. If you’re planning on going back to work and thinking that grandparents for example are going to babysit, then absolutely bring them and have them learn all the safety measures and prevention measures, and learn and practice CPR and choking relief.
Okay, so you have decided to plan on attending all the baby classes you can. Great! But the skills that you are taught, you need a lot of practice at home, otherwise they won’t be useful when you’re in actual labor. So whatever lamaze breathing techniques you learn, whatever labor positions, or meditations or massages, you need to actually try them out and continue to practice them at home. Otherwise you’ll forget them and they’re not going to magically reappear in your memory when you’re in labor.
A lot of people attend the classes, a hundred percent love the massages and meditations and all that stuff, and they say that classes were very helpful and informative. But it’s very expected that — especially with your forgetfulness due to “pregnancy brain” or “pregnancy fog” — whatever you learn in the class but don’t practice for two months or whenever until you actually have your baby, you’re going to forget it, UNLESS you make it a habit to revisit and practice.
But the more important reason you need to practice all these things is that one of the predisposing factors for preterm labor is stress. Preterm labor is having a baby before 37 weeks, and the majority of those babies are born premature, and they need to stay in the NICU for a while. To maximize your chances of avoiding that unfortunate situation, you need to find ways and figure out methods to de-stress and lower your stress levels. And by practicing all the techniques you learn from class at home every day, just at least for 10 minutes, or 15 minutes every week at the minimum, you’re going to lower your stress levels, and you’ll reduce your chances of going into preterm labor.
This is the mission and goal of attending classes: you’re expected to learn all you can and prepare for labor and birth as much as possible, and also to learn that birth is a natural family event… it’s not an illness or sickness, or a hospital admission for an emergency. You’re going to learn how modern hospitals these days support your choices.
And husbands and support partners are especially welcome in class — you are the stars, you are the guardians of courage. You’re the gatekeepers, the protectors and the coaches, and your presence — not only in class, but throughout the entire pregnancy and birth journey — is really priceless. And whatever you do, whatever you can do to support mom is highly, highly appreciated.
The class instructors will do their best to teach you everything they know about support and helping you to cope. So make sure you take advantage of all the wonderful resources provided for you these days and sign up for birth and baby care classes together with your partner as soon as possible. Learn a lot, and make sure you keep practicing what you learn at home, until the beautiful day of birth arrives, and with it your healthy happy baby.
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