This post sat in my draft folder for the longest time because I couldn’t decide to write a long rambling entry on the pros and cons or just sum it up in a simple paragraph.
So. In preparation for Bump’s arrival, I enthusiastically signed up for the hospital’s Childbirth Education Class. Yes, that’s the exact name of the course. If one needs to take driving lessons to drive a car, let alone the birth of a child, right? Then again, I also think that all wannabe parents need to go through mental, common sense and emotional tests before they are allowed to birth a child but that’s a story for another day. When we were going to get married, I also signed us up for a Marriage Preparation Course. Well, as you can clearly see, I like being prepared and not blind-sided by life-changing experiences.
There were a total of 6 sessions, each lasting 2 hours. The boy attended it with me every single time, even the ones that took place on weekday evenings where he had to rush from his workplace to make it on time without dinner Here’s the “syllabus”:
• Physiological changes during pregnancy
• Nutritional needs during pregnancy and after delivery
2nd & 3rd Sessions
• Backcare and exercises during pregnancy
• Stages of labour
• Techniques to cope with labour
• Relaxation and massage
• Role of support person
4th, 5th and 6th Sessions
• Signs of labour
• Pain relief in labour
• Methods of delivery
• Care of mother after delivery
• Infant Feeding
• Importance of breastfeeding & bonding
• Bathing and care of your newborn
• Familiarization tour of hospital
Because we joined pretty late, I was already past the first trimester of pregnancy so we didn’t find the 1st session particularly useful. The 2nd and 3rd sessions saw us dressed in comfortable clothes to learn about exercises and backcare. Best bit? When the facilitator taught all husbands present how to give massages to their pregnant wives
I personally found the 4th to 6th session the most useful of the lot because a new baby is very foreign to us. Knowing how to recognise signs of labour and learning about pain relief was useful (there are other methods besides epidural!). The one that struck in my head the most was the class on breastfeeding. Let’s just say that it is truly an art form. In the room were these dummy babies and silicon boobies (very amusing to play with!) for each couple to practise on.
The facilitators were very experienced and I remember her saying that “ALL MOTHERS CAN BREASTFEED. It all boils down to the right technique.” I remember thinking that it was very assuring to hear that but yet at the same time, I am well aware that getting the right technique would be the most challenging. She also kept reassuring us that the lactation consultants are always on hand to help and that we are only a phone call away. In fact, there are also house visits so “please don’t be shy to pick up the phone and get help!” For the record, I have the number stored in my phone already.
I also enjoyed watching them demonstrate how to bathe and care for a newborn. There’s so many things to prepare just to bathe one small tiny human! I remember the facilitator saying stuff like “put the baby’s legs gently into the water first, not the head” and remember thinking: Isn’t that common sense?
I guess not to some frazzled new parents.
We also learnt how to remove and put on a teeny tiny diaper, keeping in mind to leave the belly button area clear so that it can dry out. It was pretty sweet watching the boy practising on the dummy baby. And he did a pretty neat job!
I am also well aware of the fact that this dummy baby lays very still and is not prone to shooting pee projectiles into the air, nor is it squirming and wailing its head off. It is also a lot bigger than an actual newborn so it makes handling easier. I am all well aware that when the real tiny human arrives, everything we learnt WILL become 10 times more challenging. However, entering parenthood with some bits of information is better than having zero knowledge!
I have placed all the notes into the Very Important File which contains all the scans, receipts, various reports throughout pregnancy, the paperwork for hospital admission, etc.
Public Service Announcement: If you are newly pregnant/passed your first trimester, this should be one of the first things you get – a Very Important File to store everything pregnancy-related so that you can simply throw it into your hospital bag when the day comes. Get a clear folder file where you can easily slot stuff in, not the “need to punch hole” type.
So the question remains: Yay or nay?
Personally, I found it pretty useful. Information was presented in a non-emotional, clear manner with notes to take home. The facilitators were also very knowledgeable and seemed really assuring. There were always questions after each class from the participants and they were always happy to address them. Also, I think it was a way of bonding for the boy and I because we attended and learnt new stuff together.
I also appreciated that he was there to hear about how husbands should be pillars of emotional support during and after the pregnancy because of out-of-whack hormones Importantly, he was also there to hear first-hand about the benefits of breastfeeding so that when things get rough on the baby-feeding front, he can help fend off naysayers when his wife is in tears and feeling sorry for herself.
Last but not least, here’s a word of advice: Sign up for the course of your choice EARLY. This is the year of the Horse which is surprisingly a very busy year for popping babies.
Here’s a list of antenatal classes offered by the popular hospitals for your convenience: