Monday, September 14, 2009

Classes to Take When You Are Expecting a Baby

People ask me what classes to take. Like they HAVE to. You don't have to take classes to be admitted to the hospital to give birth; they will let you in. But take a tour of your maternity hospital or birthing center so you know what it looks like, where to park, like that. It is very reassuring to have a picture of where you will deliver in your mind as opposed to the idea that you've gotten from some movie or T.V. show that makes it look very clinical and not very friendly.

Take a childbirth preparation class. Bradly, Lamaze, Hypnobirthing, whatever. Take a group at the hospital; they usually offer a long weekend course or a longer six week course, once a week. There are many couples in either course. It takes a longer period of time than a private, individualized course because everyone needs to get their say, about themselves and everyone else they know who ever had a baby. They also take longer because they do alot of getting to know you exercises so the group feels comfortable and cohesive. But if you don't know how to labor and deliver already, it's a good idea to have some frame of reference for what the process is all about and how to get through it. It is very emotionally disturbing not to know what is going to happen to you. After some kind of course, you should have more than a clue.

Take a lactation class. Bring your significant other. It is a short course. Maybe three hours and you will be much more prepared for the teaching that they'll do for you and the baby after delivery. It's not brain surgery: breast are for breastfeeding. But there are tips and ways your partner can actually help and it, too, is a process. I like my patients to be prepared. Cuts down on the stress level which is already pretty high when you bring a new baby home.

Take infant CPR. Cardiopulmonary Recessitation. KNOW HOW TO SAVE YOUR BABY'S LIFE!!!!(that's always a good idea) And you may even be able to save someone else's. I believe that it is THE most important class you can take, if you have to choose. There is enough you can't control in life in general. This is a very easy class and no excuse not to do it. CPR is offered by several organizations. Google infant CPR and your zip code and chances are you'll find a class in your neighborhood in a week or two.

There are alot of other classes available. Go to the website of the maternity hospital where you will deliver and you can view all the classes you ever deamed of and probably some that you can't imagine. The only freebie is the tour, generally. The rest have fees and sometimes your flexible spending account will honor the receipt. If your insurance carrier is Kaiser Permanente, they pay. There are very few other that do pay for classes. Classes should be taught by instructors who are certified in their area of expertise.

Prepare your self for this experience and the responsibilities it brings with it and you will have less anxiety and more confidence. You might learn or thing or two as well.