Prenatal education

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
During your second trimester, you may want to consider enrolling in a childbirth class to prepare you for the upcoming delivery and approaching parenthood. There are a variety of educational programs for expectant parents. These sessions give you and your partner a chance to share your experiences with other couples, and the knowledge you gain will help increase your confidence about childbirth. Lamaze (luh-MAHZ) classes are usually six weeks long and focus on minimizing pain during labor and delivery, breathing and relaxation techniques, and labor coaching responsibilities. It's suggested that you enroll in this class in the seventh month of pregnancy. The prenatal classes generally involve two, three-hour sessions dealing with labor and delivery, anatomy and physiology, anesthesia (ANN- es-THEE-zha), fetal monitoring, and usually include a hospital tour. Cesarean (See-SAIR-ee-an) birth classes are for patients who have a scheduled C-section delivery. This is typically a three-hour class giving orientation to the hospital, indications for cesarean birth, signs and symptoms of labor, and post-operative care. Breastfeeding classes are available for mothers planning to nurse their babies. If you are having your first baby, you may want to enroll in a first arrival class during your first trimester of pregnancy. This can provide helpful and reassuring information for first-time parents, such as nutritional advice, labor and delivery facts, and mental and physical relaxation techniques. For more information on prenatal education, please consult your health care provider.

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