Especially if this is your first pregnancy, you and your husband or partner can learn a lot by taking a childbirth education class. A good time to start is in the sixth or seventh month of your pregnancy. If a friend is going to be your labor support (labor coach), he or she can come too. These classes usually run for 6 or 8 weeks.
Most childbirth education classes:
- Provide accurate information about what you can expect during pregnancy and labor and delivery. Information on what to expect in the hours, days, and weeks after delivery (postpartum period) may also be provided.
- Provide information on proper diet and exercise.
- Teach techniques for relaxation, muscle control, and breathing during labor and delivery. There are several methods that might be taught. Lamaze, Bradley, and Read are the names of the most common methods.
- Teach your labor coach how he or she can best help you during delivery. Childbirth education classes also help the father become more involved in the pregnancy and delivery.
- Give you a chance to spend time with other couples who are expecting a baby.
Taking a childbirth education class can reduce your stress both before and during labor and delivery by preparing you to deal with what might happen. Contact your health professional's office or your local hospital or birthing center for information about childbirth education classes.