How can birthing classes be supportive?
Supporting a pregnant woman through her pregnancy and during labor and delivery can be very difficult for a man who is not prepared. He needs to know what to do, how to help efficiently and how to react in some situations. Your partner will also go through the demanding first 3 months of your child’s life. He needs then to be prepared and to know exactly what role he needs to play in order to ease it for both of you. There are classes that would include a session just for fathers to be to answer their questions and address their concerns. There are even some classes that are geared just for new fathers.
What birthing classes are available?
Birthing classes are based in general either on Lamaze technique or the Bradley method.
• The Lamaze technique: The most adopted technique in the United States. It is based on the philosophy that birth is a normal and natural process and that women should be empowered through education and support to approach it with confidence. It mainly teaches some relaxation techniques and encourages the mother to condition her response to pain through training and preparation. These courses don’t preach against the use of drugs during labor and delivery or any form of medical intervention
• The Bradley method: Emphasize more the natural approach to birth and the active participation of the baby’s father as the birth coach. The main philosophy of the method is to avoid medication unless absolutely necessary. This method suits very well women that decide to give birth at home.
When should you start taking prenatal courses?
It is more common that parents take birthing classes during the last trimester of pregnancy, however courses are available for those who would like to start earlier or later than that. Classes took during the first trimester of pregnancy focus on all the changes that pregnancy brings. The late pregnancy courses usually last 5 to 8 weeks and are more geared towards labor, delivery and postpartum.
How do you choose Birthing classes?
Talk to your doctor or your midwife as they may provide you with good references. Talk to people around you that took such courses and benefit from their experience. Avoid walking into a course without knowing anything about the program and the qualifications of the instructor. A good course should cover all the scenarios for labor and delivery as well as including information about vaginal birth, cesarean sections, natural birth techniques and the use of pain medication during labor. They should also cover tips on pre-and postnatal care as well as the postpartum part.