Why Childbirth Classes are the Key to a Great Birthing Experience
Confession: I never took a childbirth class.
Another Confession: I was clueless about so many things once I got to the hospital.
Did you know that for safety reasons, once you are admitted you can’t eat (besides liquids) until your baby is born? Or that there’s a button to push to keep your epidural meds coming? Or that your poor spouse would appreciate knowing how to encourage you and what to expect?
Having a baby is one of the most—if not the most—significant experiences in someone’s life, which makes education and preparation so vital, according to Metro Health.
“We get reviews from class participants all the time and they rave about how valuable the classes are,” says Annie Jones, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health Perinatal Education Coordinator.
“Attendees feel more prepared, more confident, more at peace and often better connected with their partner.”
(That would have been me!)
Today’s Birthing Classes Range from In-Person to Virtual
The actual birthing process is the same as generations before, but the experience is changing. Just think about the way your grandmother and mother gave birth. (Back when my Grandmas had their children, the spouses weren’t even allowed in the room!)
Classes help you manage the anticipation you’re feeling—both excitement and anxiety.
“Anxiety is expelled, fears are released and participants say, ‘I’m glad I know now,’” says Jones.
According to the 2013 National Partnership for Women & Families Listening to Mothers III study, 53% of mothers have taken a class either with a current pregnancy or a prior one.
When those same mothers rated how valuable sources of information were to them during pregnancy, childbirth classes fell second just behind care providers.
Women believe classes are one of the most important resources in their birthing journey.
Health systems like Metro Health recognize that the way mothers find information about pregnancy and childbirth is changing.
More women are researching online, which is why many hospitals are evolving and providing digital classes and resources.
“We offer online childbirth, newborn care and breastfeeding classes for families to take on their own time and at their own pace,” Jones notes.
“We aim to reach all types of learners, so we offer visual aids, realistic videos, checklists, PDFs, hands-on learning and demonstrations.”
Jump to find…
What to Look for in a Birthing Class
Jones advises moms to look for classes that offer evidence-based information, and use guidelines from trusted organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics.
“Whether it’s hospital classes, private classes or classes through organizations like Lamaze International, if it’s credible, the education is worth the time and money.”
So, how do you decide what classes are right for you?
Jones suggests a birth plan as a great place to start. Establish a vision for how you want to experience labor and birth, and subsequently parenthood. Then explore the different educational offerings the community has to offer.
“Metro Health offers traditional childbirth classes in three formats: 3-week weekday series, full weekend series or a Saturday only express class,” says Jones.
“Additionally, we offer Infant and Child CPR + First Aid, Newborn Care, Breastfeeding, Sibling and Grandparenting classes.”
Just in case all of the information you hear in class gets overwhelming, Jones encourages women to keep the take-home materials provided in every class and review them.
“Repetition is very important for information to stick in the brain—especially a pregnant, hormonal and possibly extra-forgetful brain!”
Jones adds, “Attending childbirth classes is really an amazing experience. You’re provided with the most up-to-date information, you get to pose your questions to a health professional, you get the comradery of being with other expectant parents and families and you get the peace of mind that you’ve prepared for this life-changing journey into parenthood.”
Are you or someone in your family expecting a new bundle of joy? Check out all the classes Metro Health – University of Michigan Health offers to help you prepare.