Whether this is your first, second, or fifth baby, childbirth classes are a great way to prepare for labor and bringing baby home. Here are the top 5 reasons you may want to explore taking classes (beyond the standard hospital class):
Find out what to expect during labor. Most importantly, you'll find out what the typical signs of labor are. You'll also understand when to go to the hospital (or birth center), and what happens to your body as you go through labor and delivery.
Learn about labor pain and how to handle it. What's the deal with labor pain? What can you expect? Can you handle it? (Of course you can, girlfriend!) A childbirth class will not only explain how contractions work, how often and how long, but you'll also learn ways to cope with the pain. A good childbirth class will teach you breathing techniques, relaxation, and comfort measures. You'll even get a chance to practice with your partner during class, so that s/he can support you better during labor.
Understand medical interventions. You'll get information about epidurals, induction, C-sections, etc. Not only will you better understand how each procedures works, but you will also receive a full overview of the related risks and benefits.
Tips on newborn care. A good childbirth class will also give you an overview of diapering, bathing, and breastfeeding.
Conquer your fears! In our culture, childbirth is often portrayed as a frightening event. A class can help you understand your fears (if you have any), address them, and become the confident, empowered momma every pregnant woman has inside of her.
Have you taken a childbirth class? What was the most helpful or interesting thing you learned?