Being a first-time mom can be an overwhelming experience – the body is changing, there is a baby growing and there is the anticipation and fear of childbirth and caring for the newborn baby. Increasingly, parents are opting to go for prenatal classes to prepare themselves and in part, gives the couple time to understand all the changes and talk through various options and decisions that are to be made. Let’s understand what is prenatal education and how it can help parents.
Prenatal Education – Are Classes Really Necessary?
One can argue it’s all part of nature but don’t forget that we no longer live in a village. Today, most couples start their family while living on their own and may not have the support from their extended family. There are also many more options today relating to pain relief and childbirth methods. Moreover, learning what is medically correct gives parents confidence in their childbirth and childcare. Going through the prenatal classes also give the couple the chance to make some of these decisions early.
What does Prenatal Education cover?
There are usually various options for the classes, ranging from basic to more comprehensive. Typically, the topics are:
• Changes to the mother’s body – what is to be expected and what are the warning signs of potential medical conditions
• Development of the fetus – what are the key stages of development and the warning signs of potential medical issues
• Childbirth options and process
• Pain relief options, including massage, breathing and medication
• Recognition of the stages of labour and what to do when you are in labour
• Role of your spouse who is in the labour room
• Caring for a newborn baby
• Breastfeeding – techniques on proper latch-on and use of breast pump
• Common baby conditions such as jaundice and baby acne/ birth marks
• Common postpartum conditions such as recognising postpartum depression
How does Prenatal Education Help Parents?
Prenatal education is beneficial for parents in many ways, such as:
• Increases understanding and support between the couple, for the changes that affect the mom (and dad)
• Helps the couple to make informed decision on childbirth and pain relief
• Prepares the couple mentally of the childbirth and increasing the likelihood that the childbirth will be a calm process
• Helps the parents to address their fears and concerns in a supportive environment with other couples
• Builds confidence to care for the baby
• Helps the couple to prepare ahead for the baby’s arrival, especially during the first few months of the baby’s arrival
• Helps the couple to understand how to care for the mother both during pregnancy and after birth
• Helps make informed decision on purchases of baby equipment and essentials, such as choice of breast pumps and baby bottles
• Deepens the bond between the couple
What Parents Can Do
If you are interested in attending classes, check out those offered in the hospital that you are delivering. Some of the classes may be conducted by lactation consultants who you may then decide to have a private session with in the first few days of your baby’s birth to help with proper latch-on and dealing with breastfeeding issues like breast engorgement. These classes are popular in Singapore and have to be reserved. These classes are often conducted weekly, over 3 to 9 sessions. Prepare early and enjoy your parenthood journey!