Gone are the days of one childbirth class focused on breathing techniques for mom to use during labor. Moms-to-be (and their partners!) have more options than ever before on classes they can take.
Specific opportunities will vary by community, but here are some basic classes and tours to look out for:
- Hospital or Birth Center Tour: Once you know where you’re delivering, be sure to schedule a tour of the facilities. Nearly all hospitals and birthing centers offer Labor & Delivery tours, designed to educate parents-to-be on where to go and what to do when the big day arrives. You’ll learn about pre-registration, rules, infant safety, and visitor guidelines.
- Childbirth Preparation: Most hospitals offer childbirth preparation classes, which typically include a hospital tour. These can be offered in one-day classes, shorter classes over a number of weeks, or even through webinars and DVDs.
- Doula visits: If you opt to use a doula, you will get to know her well through consultations and prenatal visits. She will be a valuable resource through your pregnancy and labor, and even after baby arrives. Conversations with her will serve as mini-classes about each stage of pregnancy and handling a newborn.
- Parenting Classes: Check with your hospital, OB/GYN or family doctor to learn about available parenting classes in your community. Newborn parenting classes will teach you to care for baby, and offer cover topics ranging from changing diapers to different types of holds and calming techniques.
- Breastfeeding Classes: Check with your hospital, OB/GYN or family doctor to learn about breastfeeding classes offered near you. While many moms wait until after baby is born to take breastfeeding classes, they are both educational and insightful for moms-to-be who take the time before baby arrives. Learning about potential problems, breastfeeding habits, breastfeeding products, and baby’s feeding needs before baby arrives can lead to greater breastfeeding success because you will know what to look for and what is normal. After baby arrives they can offer support and assessments with baby at the breast.
Before the baby comes is also a great time to research local breastfeeding support groups, playgroups, and newborn activities.