When it comes to preparing for your labor and delivery experience, a childbirth class is the place to go. However, there are several problems with just showing up at a class and expecting to get something out of it. To make the most of your pregnancy time and energy, here are some tips to get the most out of your childbirth class - without wasting your time.
- Figure out what you're looking for first.
Take time when you first find out you are pregnant, or even before, and figure out what your goals are in a childbirth class. Some key areas most people are looking for is:
- Information on labor and delivery
- Comfort measures to help ease labor
- Guidance on issues on pain relief
- Discussion of pros and cons of the most common labor interventions
By deciding early on what you want out of a class, you can be assured that you will have the ability to find a class that meets your needs.
- Sign up early.
Nothing can be as frustrating for you or your childbirth class teacher than for you to call a few weeks before your due date and want a class. Chances are that her classes are full and she will either have to turn you away or fit you into a class - neither of which is a good idea. Calling early in your pregnancy is the best bet to find a childbirth class that fits your time constraints and needs.
- Do you have a philosophical preference?
I personally think that you should be open minded when looking at a childbirth class. You might have heard specific things about a particular "brand" of classes, but until you've talked to the local educators and some of their students - you'll never know for sure. Find out what you can about the major childbirth organizations like Lamaze, Bradley and ICEA and talk to their local people before going any further.
- Come to class prepared.
Come to class prepared to learn. This is really a basic courtesy to you, your fellow classmates and your instructor, but show up on time, ready to start. Bring the supplies you need to class, pay attention and be sure to ask questions. If there was home work - do it.
This doesn't mean that you have to stand up and give speeches or monopolize the conversation, but ask questions so that you know what you're doing, pay attention, do the group activities, no matter how they may feel strange to you - there is a purpose. If you do your assigned reading or homework, you'll be ready and lively for the next class. Join the discussion, actively listen to the other participants when it's their turn and be polite. Sometimes you'll make some great friends in childbirth class!