Expectant couples often attend childbirth education classes as a means of preparing for labor and delivery. The classes give accurate information about childbirth and teach relaxation, muscular control, and breathing techniques. The classes also aim to increase a couple's sense of being in control of their childbirth and experience, reduce the fears of expectant parents, and help women learn how to cope with pain.
The classes are run by hospitals, private teachers, and doctors, among others. Some begin as early as the first trimester and cover topics including nutrition, exercise, and fetal development. Others begin in the seventh or eighth month and concentrate on labor, delivery, and postpartum care.
Childbirth classes provide opportunities to spend time with other expectant couples, increase the father's involvement in the pregnancy, and increase the couple's self-confidence.
When choosing a childbirth class consider your doctor's recommendation, the size of the class, topics covered, and teaching methods. Look around until you find a childbirth class that is right for you.