Pregnancy is often an exciting and joyful time. But sometimes, that excitement can bring anxiety about carrying and giving birth to a child with it, especially for first-timers. However, with proper guidance, education, and support, those anxieties can be relieved. That’s why childbirth education classes can be so beneficial.
Become Confident, Have a Better Outcome
Childbirth education has been shown to reduce fear and anxiety while increasing confidence in expectant mothers. Learning about how to take care of yourself and your child as you prepare to give birth can help in a multitude of ways. In a study published by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG), participating in childbirth classes can reduce the rates of adverse delivery outcomes like failed induction and unplanned C-sections. It is thought that this is due to the increased knowledge and skills in women who take childbirth classes.
Learn About Pregnancy & Prenatal Care
Many childbirth education courses cover more than just labor and birth. You will learn about how your body will change as your pregnancy progresses. You’ll also learn how to take care of yourself and your baby during pregnancy. Your course leader will have valuable insights on how to have a healthy pregnancy, which ties into preparing for safe and smooth delivery.
Understand the Stages of Labor
A lot of the anxiety and fear surrounding pregnancy and childbirth comes from not knowing what to expect once labor begins. In a prenatal education course, you will learn about the stages of labor so you know what to expect. Stages of labor to familiarize yourself with include early labor, active labor, birth, and the delivery of the placenta.
Figure Out Your Birth Preferences
A big benefit of childbirth education classes is learning about the different aspects of labor and delivery. When you have a complete picture of all the ways things can be done, you can decide what will work for you. Your course instructor may dedicate class time putting your birth preferences in writing for when you go to the hospital, which is often called a birth plan. If you do not spend time in class doing this, you can still ask for guidance on how to put a plan together.
While laying out your birth preferences, you will need to learn about what will happen if you have complications during labor. If you need medical intervention outside of your birth plan, you should know what that entails. This might seem a little scary, but like with the rest of the process, knowing as much as possible upfront is actually a way to ease your mind. Education is the best way to free yourself from fear.
Another part of making your birth plan is discussing the options that are available for handling pain during labor. Not only will you learn breathing and relaxation techniques, but your instructor can also let you know the pros and cons of different methods, including pain medications like epidural blocks.
Get a Head Start on Postpartum and Newborn Care
While prenatal and childbirth education courses are primarily focused on what happens leading up to and during delivery, you will probably learn a few things about what happens after. The instructor can give you valuable information on postpartum care for yourself as well as newborn care. They can provide you with more educational resources and can refer you to professionals you might need after birth, such as lactation consultants.
Coordinate with Your Care Team
Setting aside time each week to focus on your pregnancy and your birth plan can help enforce the important relationships you have during the process. Invite your partner or labor coach to attend class with you. You can also use it as an opportunity to coordinate with your care team. Many OB/GYNs and midwives work closely with childbirth education professionals that they can refer you to.
Triangle Physicians for Women’s own April Horner, a Certified Nurse Midwife, offers a childbirth education class that will include everything you need to feel prepared for the birth of your baby. Content includes Stages of Labor, comfort/relief measures, pain management options, postpartum care, newborn care, and breastfeeding. Go to PreparingforBabyLLC.com to learn more.
For all of your other prenatal and childbirth care, Triangle Healthcare For Women has a team of experienced OB/GYNs, CNMs, RNs, sonographers, mammography technicians, and lab technicians ready to help! Our collaborative approach takes into account each patient’s individual needs, both in obstetrics and general gynecology. Call us at (919) 678-6900 to make an appointment at one of our offices in Cary or Holly Springs.