• Before you have your baby you may want to take time to learn about safety, childbirth and parenting. There is a wide array of classes available which will help you feel more secure and confident about the upcoming life changes. Knowledge is power and preparation is your best weapon. Taking classes also allows you to meet other pregnant women, socialize and exchange information, and gives you time to bond with your partner. To find classes in your area you can call your local hospital, your doctor, friends & family, or look online. The options are endless.

    Basic Life Support/CPR
    Taking a basic life support or CPR class is a way to empower yourself before your child arrives. You will learn what to do in case of an emergency and, though you will hopefully never need to use this knowledge, having it will give reassurance and a sense of calm (relative, of course) when you have your newborn at home.

    There are many options when it comes to childbirth. Whether you are planning (or hoping) for a vaginal delivery or not you may want to take a childbirth class. There are two major teachings – the Lamaze method and the Bradley method. Some classes combine aspects of each teaching.
    Lamaze promotes breathing, positioning, massage, support and relaxation. You will learn about medications/pain relief options so that you’ll be more familiar with your options during childbirth.
    Bradley is about exercise, diet/nutrition and deep breathing during the labor and delivery process.
    When choosing a class you will want to be sure that the instructor is certified. You may want to ask about the instructor’s philosophies, class size and format (lecture versus interactive), whether your partner’s attendance is mandatory, and about the length and cost of the class.
    By the time you have finished taking your childbirth class you should have enough information to prepare a birth plan (see “Birth Plan” on Playdate.com). Bring a checklist of your birth plan to class to be sure any questions you may have are answered to your satisfaction.

    There are classes available covering many topics that might be helpful. Consider taking a breastfeeding class if you intend on breastfeeding. You may want to take an infant care class, or a sibling class to ease the transition for your other child(ren). If you are expecting twins or triplets there are classes to learn about what lies ahead and how best to manage.

    So, if you have the time (and I assure you that whatever time you have now is exponentially greater than the time you will have after your baby is born – just keeping it real) you should take advantage of the classes available in your area and enjoy learning and preparing for the transition ahead.

    -Monique Araya, MD, FAAP

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