women in birthing class

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Childbirth classes: preparing for labor

Moms-to-be can’t wait for their babies to be born, but the delivery process can be a bit intimidating. Luckily, childbirth classes exist for those moms who feel like they could use a bit of guidance and instruction before it’s time for Baby to show up on the scene.

What you’ll learn

Childbirth classes can teach you a number of different tips and techniques that will help make the road to, and the actual delivery much easier.

  • Labor education: From how to identify labor’s warning signs, to what to do next and more, childbirth classes will help get you ready for that magical moment when you say “it’s go time!”
  • Relaxation breathing techniques: Vital for delivery, relaxation breathing techniques can help keep your mind at ease during the most laborious parts of labor.
  • Meeting other moms-to-be: Whether you’re the first among your friends to get pregnant, or you just want some advice from those who are in the same boat as you, the importance of the social aspect of childbirth classes simply cannot be overemphasized.
  • Involve your partner: Attending childbirth classes is a great way to bring your partner into the loop, and get them better acquainted with the process.

Two methods

Although they share some very similar themes, there are actually two different schools of thought when it comes to childbirth classes, and accordingly each class generally follows one of the methods, either the Lamaze technique, or the Bradley Method.

The Lamaze technique is the more popular of the two, and encourages women to control their bodies, and their labor (labor pain) through relaxation, breathing, and visualization techniques.

The Bradley method places more emphasis on having a “natural” pregnancy and delivery, avoiding use of pain medication, as well as on your partner as labor coach. Bradley followers generally believe that labor pain medication is unnecessary in most deliveries, and these classes are probably a better fit for women whose views fall under this umbrella.

The bottom line

Even if you’ve read every book and article possible to prepare yourself for birth, you simply can’t make up the effect that a real teacher in a real classroom with other moms-to-be like yourself has. Childbirth classes are a wonderful option for any mom who wants to get a little more comfortable with her impending delivery.

Read more
  • R Grajeda, R Perez-Escamilla. "Stress during labor and delivery is associated with delayed onset of lactation among Urban Guatemalan women." Journal of Nutrition. 132(10):3055-60. Web. 10/2/2015.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. "Childbirth classes: Get ready for labor and delivery." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 6/18/2014. Web.
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