As soon as you found out you were pregnant, you probably started getting a lot of advice – both solicited and unsolicited. It can be difficult to wade through information when it's coming at you from all sides to determine what's best for you and your baby. While there are a lot of things you can take or leave when it comes to your pregnancy, you should seriously consider taking childbirth classes.
Childbirth classes are a great resource for gathering information from reliable sources that will help prepare your mind and body for delivery. Typically, childbirth classes include information on labor, birth, and the early postpartum period. In most cases, you will also likely learn massage techniques, relaxation practices that may help alleviate pain, breastfeeding basics, healthy lifestyles choices for you during pregnancy and after your baby is delivered, communication skills (which will be extremely important as you navigate the sometimes-overwhelming waters of becoming a new mom), and positioning for labor and birth.
Childbirth classes aren’t just for new moms, either. Some of my patients who have already had children take the classes as a refresher. It’s also important to remember that medicine continually advances. While childbirth itself might not change that much, there are likely new techniques you can learn for delivery that could help – so don’t feel like you can’t take classes if you’re experiencing your second or third pregnancy. There’s a lot of information to learn, and it's especially helpful coming from a medical professional you trust.
Gather the Information
There are a lot of options when it comes to childbirth, and to make sure you’ve chosen the best route for you and your family, it is vital that you know all of these options. Childbirth classes help you wade through this information. For example, is a cesarean section the right move for you? Is an at-home birth dangerous? How should you create a birth plan and what should it include? If you are going to regular birthing classes and you have access to a medical professional who can give you honest, direct, and accurate information, you are one step ahead of any mom who doesn't have all of the facts. This means, you will be able to tailor your desired birth plan to your lifestyle and personal health.
Get Dad Involved
It is important to have fathers involved in the birth process. Not only does it help them become immediately closer to your baby, it also helps strengthen your relationship. You need support during this time, and most dads want to give it, even if they're not sure how. Childbirth classes allow dads to get involved in a way they may not be able to without classes. Spend a few classes going over my childbirth will be like, and you might be surprised how excited, supportive, and present your significant other is.
Dr. Chanelle Clark is an Obstetrics and Gynecology specialist at Kelsey-Seybold’s Pearland Clinic. In addition to labor and delivery, her clinical interests include preventive healthcare; noninvasive surgery, including laparoscopy and hysteroscopy; and management and treatment options for abnormal uterine bleeding.