First-time mothers-to-be often have lots of questions and even some worries: How will I know I'm in labor? Will it hurt? Will my baby know how to breastfeed? How do I care for a newborn?
Classes to prepare you for childbirth, breastfeeding, infant care, and parenting are great ways to lessen anxiety and build confidence. In some cities, classes might be offered in different languages.
Birthing classes often are offered through local hospitals and birthing centers. Some classes follow a specific method, such as Lamaze or the Bradley method. Others review labor techniques from a variety of methods.
You might want to read about the different methods beforehand to see if one appeals more to you than others. That way, you will know what to sign up for if more than one type of birthing class if offered.
Try to sign up for a class several months before your due date. Classes sometimes fill up quickly. Also, make sure the instructor is qualified.
Most women attend the class with the person who will provide support during labor, such as a spouse, sister, or good friend. This person is sometimes called the labor coach.
During class, the instructor will go over the signs of labor and review the stages of labor. She will talk about positioning for labor and birth, and ways to control pain. She also will give you strategies to work through labor pains and to help you stay relaxed and in control.
You will practice many of these strategies in class, so you are ready when the big day arrives. Many classes also provide a tour of the birthing facility.
For more resources on pregnancy click here.