Childbirth classes

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
Expectant couples often attend childbirth education classes as a means of preparing for labor and delivery. The purpose of these classes is to give accurate information about childbirth and teach relaxation, muscular control, and breathing techniques. The classes also aim to increase a couple's sense of feeling in control of their childbirth 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 (TRY-mess-ter) and cover such things as nutrition, exercise, and fetal (feetle) development. Others begin in the seventh or eighth month and concentrate on labor, delivery, and postpartum care. Childbirth classes provide an opportunity to spend time with other expectant couples, increase the father's involvement in the pregnancy, and increase the couple's self-confidence. Important things to consider when choosing a childbirth class include your doctor's recommendation, the size of the class, topics covered, and teaching methods. Look around until you find a childbirth class that's right for you. For more information on childbirth classes, talk to a health care provider.
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