You can start your prenatal care at VNA as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. We’ll help you understand how to have a healthy pregnancy and what to expect during both labor and delivery. VNA recommends that you have about 15 visits during your pregnancy. You’ll see your provider once a month on average up to your twenty-eighth week. You’ll then visit every other week up to week 36. After that, you will come to VNA every week until your baby is born. Regular visits help ensure your provider can spot any problems early and treat them so you can have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
We expect you’ll have plenty of questions. Our obstetricians, midwife, doula, nurse practitioners, and registered nurses will be glad to answer them at each visit. If you have a partner or labor coach, you may want to bring that person with you to some of your appointments.
What Are Prenatal Classes?
Prenatal classes, also called birth classes, parenting classes, or childbirth education classes, help parents prepare for the birth of their baby. They are aimed at teaching pregnant women and their partners about fetal development, methods for relieving labor pains, medical interventions that may be needed during the birth, how to care for a newborn baby, and much more. These classes are usually aimed at expectant parents who are about to have their first child, but they can be helpful for any parent.
Should I Take a Childbirth Education Class?
Is this your first baby? Do you feel uneasy or afraid about the upcoming childbirth? Are you worried about complications? If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, childbirth classes may help you. If you are not sure about attending one, you can ask your OB-GYN or consulting physician for advice.
Even if you have already had successful pregnancies in the past, you can still benefit from taking a prenatal class. You may learn new and useful things that make your pregnancy even smoother and more effortless.
Where Can I Find Birthing Classes Near Me?
Hospitals, health clinics, and midwives/doulas often host birthing classes for expecting parents. Many of these are in-person classes that are only open to their patients.
VNA Health Care, on the other hand, offers prenatal classes open to the whole community. We provide parenting and childbirth education in the form of a virtual class. This interactive online class is an eight-week series that will help you prepare for your new arrival.
We also have comprehensive prenatal health services. You can ask our nurse practitioners, OB-GYNs, doulas, midwives, and other consulting physicians any questions you may have about labor and the birthing process during your visit.
What Can I Learn From a Prenatal Class?
There are many different approaches and philosophies related to childbirth. The content of each prenatal class may be unique and different, depending on the specific questions asked by class participants. That said, you can expect to learn the following basics in a class for expectant parents:
- Nutrition during pregnancy and fetal development.
- Information about having a hospital birth or delivering your new baby at your home.
- Signs of labor and when to go to the hospital.
- Various breathing techniques and comfort measures you can use to relax during labor.
- Various labor positions that can help speed up the process and reduce severe pain.
- Other pain relief options and coping skills available to pregnant mothers in labor.
- Alternative medical interventions to natural birth that you may require – like Cesarean birth.
- How partners can support the mother during labor.
What Are the Benefits of Childbirth Education Classes?
Birthing classes are not strictly mandatory for couples. However, they are often highly recommended, particularly for first-time parents. You can expect the following benefits from attending a prenatal class:
- You can bond with your partner/co-parent/support person and improve your shared parenting journey.
- You can conquer your fears about the childbirth process and become more confident.
- You can learn more about the different stages of labor and the birth process.
- You can ask the childbirth educator any questions you may have about labor and birth, baby care basics, infant safety, bottle feeding, car seat safety, etc.
- You can learn how to manage depression and stress in the postpartum period.
- You can meet other expectant and new parents, share experiences, and gain more knowledge and insights.
What Are the Different Types of Prenatal Classes?
Some birthing classes are aimed solely at pregnant mothers, while others accept couples. You can also find classes that are designed for women at various stages of pregnancy. Some classes are open to women in their first trimester. There are even classes aimed at parents expecting twins and triplets. VNA welcomes all pregnant individuals at any stage of their pregnancy and also invites them to bring a partner, friend or family member of their choice to support them during the classes.
VNA doulas and midwives can help educate pregnant women on newborn care prior or during their third trimester, as they are approaching their due date. They can give you more information on pain management, comfort measures, breathing exercises, and other ways in which you can reduce the stress of childbirth.
You can also divide childbirth classes based on their approaches and techniques used in childbirth. Some examples include:
- Lamaze – a technique that uses breathing, proper positioning, and certain tools to manage labor pain (without the use of painkillers).
- The Bradley Method – using deep breathing and other relaxation techniques to get through labor without any pain medication.
- Hypnobirthing – an approach that uses self-hypnosis to help pregnant mothers reach a relaxed state during labor.
Rely on VNA Health Care for Free Advice and Guidance
VNA Health Care is a premier provider of low-cost, high-quality primary health care services to underserved communities in Illinois. We provide a comprehensive array of pregnancy care and delivery services including free pregnancy testing and prenatal health services to women and couples.
Visit the VNA Health Care event calendar to view and sign up for a prenatal class today!
Our experienced and friendly staff physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, midwives, and doulas are here to answer any questions you may have about childbirth and provide expert guidance and suggestions.