If you are pregnant, especially if you are pregnant with your first child, you can be almost completely consumed with worry, fears, and questions about what you should expect pregnancy and childbirth to be like. Fortunately, there are childbirth classes that may be able to alleviate some of your fears and to answer many of the questions that you might have.
You can usually find out about childbirth classes from your health care provider. In many areas, the hospital or the birthing center that you are going to use may provide these classes. In other areas, there may be private groups that provide these classes, and the classes may or may not actually take place at the hospital or birthing center. If your health care provider does not have information available for you, there are many national organizations, such as Lamaze International and The American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth that may be able to help you find a class. If there are no classes available locally, there may be other options, such as internet-based classes.
Childbirth classes typically will take several weeks, with a single 2-3 hour session each week. In some cases, childbirth classes are being offered during a full weekend, or over two separate weekends, to fit better with the harried schedule that the expecting couple may have.
Childbirth classes go over any number of topics. Depending on what organization is providing the classes, the content may vary from one class to another. However, you will find that most childbirth classes cover certain basic concepts, such as pain management during labor, breathing techniques, how your baby is developing, the stages of labor, how to know if you are in labor, the role of your partner or coach in labor and delivery, as well as warning signs that something may be wrong during your pregnancy. They will also typically discuss both vaginal and cesarean-section deliveries.
One of the nicer things about childbirth classes is that you will typically have the opportunity to meet other couples who are expecting. It can be helpful to meet some other people who are experiencing first had the roller coaster that is pregnancy. In some cases, you may find that you become friends with these folks long after your pregnancy is over.