One of the best ways to get ready for birth is taking antenatal classes. Whenever you are about to embark on a new physical challenge, you prepare first by taking some kind of course. Birth is no different. Before you take one of the most meaningful physical challenges of your life, you need to find a class that suits you.
So when do you start class? Obviously, you don’t begin the moment that you conceive, but you need some time to learn the exercises and absorb the knowledge that is necessary for making informed choices about your birth.
For this reason, it is a good idea to book into a course around the 20th week of your pregnancy, which is about halfway through. That way, you also don’t run the risk of losing an opportunity if the classes are booked up because you still have time to look elsewhere.
There are various types of prenatal classes available, ranging from antenatal exercise classes to antenatal swimming classes. The best types of courses are those that teach as many aspects as possible of your upcoming birth. Even if this is not your first birth, you want to gain information and find the most productive ways to make your labour work for you.
At childbirth classes, you can learn exercises to strengthen and prepare your body for labour, natural ways to hasten labour and prevent an induction, methods of pain relief, and how to relax during the end of pregnancy and when you are giving birth. You will learn about the process of birth and what will be happening to your body and your baby at that time. Some classes will also give you an introduction to breastfeeding and basic baby care.
By looking into all of the options that you will learn about, this will help you when it comes to writing your birth plan. You will also feel a lot more comfortable during the whole birthing process because you will be more focused and prepared. The different experiences of labour will not feel so strange or overwhelming to you because you will at least understand what is going on.
Furthermore, there are different types of birthing classes depending on what you are interested in. For example, if you want a home birth, the private midwife that you hire may offer you a course of classes in which you will learn her techniques. If you want a water birth, you would probably take antenatal aqua classes to understand this concept a little better. There are also maternity classes for teenage and first-time mums, refresher classes for older mothers, and antenatal yoga classes for those who prefer that sort of approach.
Some women would prefer not to use pain relief such as epidurals or pethidine during childbirth. Their way of coping is to ride out the contractions with breathing exercises. These women would probably attend Lamaze classes, where they learn a specific way to breathe during labour, effectively dealing with the pain.
If you are interested in a hospital birth, it is worth finding out if there are hospital classes and if they are either subsidised or even free. Others may prefer private classes, which are a little smaller and more individual, or to go to an antenatal clinic.
Another viable option is to take classes on line. If you are very busy, and you really don’t have the time to go to classes out of the house, or if you are on bed rest and all you can do is look at a computer screen, this might be a good option for you.
For free online Antenatal classes click here.
Before booking your class, you should really work out who will be with you when you have the baby. Then you should arrange going to the classes together.
Some partners would like nothing better than to attend the birth of their child. They learn all the exercises and will even breathe along with their Significant Other during her labour. At the end, some of them are only too happy to cut the umbilical cord.
However, not all partners are like that. Some are rather squeamish and cannot bring themselves to even stand outside the door of the labour room. Others may be there, but their role is more passive.. And then there are the fathers who would genuinely love to be there but whose work constraints would not allow it, apart from which they may need to stay home with the other children. Or maybe the father is no longer on the scene.
In such cases, your options are usually your mother, sister, or a very good friend. And if you can’t find anyone else, there are always doulas. A doula is a professionally trained birth partner who can accompany a woman through labour.
So once you have found the best antenatal classes for you and someone to go with you, you will be prepared and feel suitably relaxed for the next stage.