Why Attend Prenatal Classes?
Article provided by Tara Sherry-Torres, Director of Operations, MAYA Organization
There is no way to really plan for a baby. But you sure can learn as much as you can before baby arrives! Since information is power, taking prenatal classes is a great way to (at least attempt) to be prepared for your bundle of joy arrives. Prenatal classes are also a great opportunity to meet other pregnant people, find answers to your questions, and be connected to additional resources. Plus, being armed with this information can help to reduce infant mortality and boost health outcomes for both mother and child.
What are prenatal classes?
The journey to parenthood can be overwhelming for all parties involved. Prenatal classes are a series of classes that provide information to new parents (and their family) about things to expect during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Classes will often include safety information such as how to install a car seat, safe sleeping techniques, how to baby proof your home as well as practical information such as how to feed and bathe your baby. Most providers who serve pregnant people offer some sort of prenatal class series.
How do prenatal classes improve maternal and infant health outcomes?
Because prenatal classes teach fact-based information, it empowers moms to be confident and advocate for what is in the best interest of themselves and their children. The information that parents receive helps them make decisions that protect their children while being mindful to look for signs indicating a potential negative impact on the health of the baby and/or the mom.
Why attend prenatal classes?
The information you receive in prenatal classes will help you to understand how to care for your baby in the minutes, hours, days, and weeks after they are born. The classes prepare moms for unexpected events such as a cesarean section, induction, or when a pregnancy does not go as planned. Class instructors can help you form questions for you provider, understand the options you have, and learn to set boundaries that make you feel comfortable. You will also learn how to prepare for birth and care for yourself during postpartum.
In addition to learning, prenatal classes also serve as an informal support group where you can vent your pregnancy woes. If you are struggling with negative feelings throughout pregnancy, being in spaces with other pregnant people (and people who understand the unique challenges of pregnancy) can be a big relief. Plus sitting in a group and hearing the various questions and conversations that come up can help you consider things you had never thought about before.
What will I learn in a prenatal class?
While there is no standard curriculum for prenatal classes, the goal of these classes is to empower parents with the information they need to take care of their child. Usually, you can expect classes to cover the basics of pregnancy, birth, and infant care. If you are expecting to breastfeed, make sure to take a breastfeeding class. There are different types of classes you can take to prepare for birth, such as Lamaze or Hypnobirthing. Your provider should offer an array of classes. Think about the questions you have and then take as many classes as you can to help you gather all the information you want. But don’t go overboard, remember that classes should be helpful, not stressful!
Who can attend prenatal classes?
Anyone! Obviously the individuals who are going to be spending the most time with the baby should be taking some classes, but other family members and close friends who want to know how they can provide support should also consider taking classes.
Remember that taking prenatal classes should not be stressful. Becoming a parent is not an exam that you need to cram for, it’s a marathon. Enjoy the journey! And before the baby makes its grand arrival, take a little bit of time to learn some new skills that will help make the transition a little smoother.
Article written by the MAYA Organization. They provide education and promote the healing process, enabling women and families to break the cycle of generational trauma, fostering optimal physical and mental development of their children.