Although the choice to take childbirth classes is a personal decision you will have to make for yourself, childbirth classes can be very beneficial especially for first time parents. Besides teaching breathing and relaxation techniques, these classes are very informative and educational. It is a great way for expectant parents to have their questions answered, their concerns addressed and to learn about available resources to assist them even after the baby is born.

My husband and I attended childbirth classes since it was a prerequisite for admitting the father into the delivery room. It was an enjoyable and information filled experience. The instructor was both pleasant and knowledgeable and it was a pleasure getting to know the other couples in the class. The instructor made the exercises fun to learn and encouraged us to ask questions. The basic focus of the class was on vaginal birth, breathing and relaxation techniques to lessen pain and anxiety. The instructor did touch on related topics such as false labor, premature birth and c-section delivery. I remember vividly how the instructor stated that at least one woman in the class would probably end up having a delivery by c-section as she talked about the possible causes requiring such a delivery. At that time I did not think that I would be that woman. My husband never did get to accompany me to the delivery room since I ended up in the operating room instead. Even so, the knowledge I gained by attending the classes was time well spent.

One important feature of childbirth classes that many may not fully appreciate is the importance placed on the father’s role during the birthing process. Many men feel helpless while the mother is in labor. They wish they could do something more to help ease the process but don’t know what to do. Gone are the days of pacing the floor of a hospital waiting room. Childbirth classes provide the man with an active role and teach him how best to fulfill his duties as a birthing coach. He no longer needs to feel helpless. Proper education and instruction allows both parents to take an active role in the birth of their child.

Childbirth classes usually begin around the third trimester of pregnancy. There are several types of classes available. I chose Lamaze which is based largely on education and relaxation techniques. There are other classes such as the Bradley Method which focuses on the avoidance of medication and the active role of the father. The class I attended was held at the local hospital but you may find classes available through other health organizations as well. Consult your obstetrician or local hospital for information and literature to find out what type of classes are available in your area.

Childbirth classes cover needed information such as warning signs in pregnancy and how to know when you’re in labor. Classes may vary but in general they usually provide information regarding postpartum depression, self-care after giving birth, breastfeeding and basic care of the infant once it is born. Although childbirth classes are not necessary to bring a happy, healthy child into the world, they may be required for the father or anyone acting as coach to be present in the delivery room. If you do decide to take childbirth classes you will find it an enjoyable and beneficial experience.