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    Classes to Take During Pregnancy

    Pregnancy and childbirth are times of tremendous joys and challenges. Learning what to expect and preparing for future changes can help couples make educated choices about their birth experience.

    Find a prenatal class at a Sutter facility near you

    I've read several books on pregnancy. Why would a "Healthy Pregnancy" class be helpful?

    Information concerning steps you can take to have a healthy pregnancy increases daily. Although many books can provide general information, a class offered by a nurse or other knowledgeable professional can provide the most up-to-date information. It may also be helpful for you and your partner to be with other pregnant couples to share the excitement and questions of early pregnancy.


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    I don't think I'm at risk for having a premature baby. Do I need to take a class on "Preventing Preterm Birth?"

    Although there are several identified factors which place some women at risk for preterm labor, 50 percent of preterm labor occurs in pregnancies not previously considered at risk. Learning to identify the warning signs and symptoms of preterm labor can make the difference of carrying your baby to term rather than delivering a premature baby. (See section on Premature labor.)


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    Why should I take a “Childbirth Preparation” class? Isn’t it just about breathing techniques for natural childbirth? I may want an epidural in labor.

    Even with epidural anesthesia, you will experience the process of labor. Childbirth preparation classes provide valuable information and practical tips regarding all phases of labor. Classes are geared towards educating pregnant women and their partners about the process of labor and birth and the choices available to them, including medications.

    Although several breathing techniques are taught and practiced in childbirth preparation classes, they are only one of a variety of tools (such as relaxation and positioning) discussed in class. Couples are encouraged to use those techniques or other variations that work for them.


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    We're both very busy. Can't I get the information I need from watching videos and reading books instead of taking a class?

    Most couples find group classes to be the most helpful method of meeting both their need for education and support. Listening to other couples’ questions in class and recognizing the normalcy of what they are feeling can be very reassuring. In addition, most of the coping techniques are difficult to grasp just by reading a book or watching a video. Because some class time is devoted to practicing techniques, most couples have increased confidence in their coping skills by the completion of the course.


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    Is the "Newborn Parenting" series really necessary? My mother will help me take care of the baby.

    During your hospital stay, there is only a brief period of time for the nursing staff to teach you about caring for your baby. Learning basic baby care skills, including how to calm a fussy baby, which equipment is essential and the basics of breastfeeding, are but a few of the skills learned in newborn parenting classes. Also, many things have changed since your mom cared for her children.


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    Should my partner come to the "Breastfeeding" class?

    Yes! It has been shown that a knowledgeable, supportive partner is an important factor in the success of beginning and maintaining breastfeeding. The more your partner learns about breastfeeding, the more support your partner can offer once you start breastfeeding.


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    I just had a baby two years ago. Do I need to take another class?

    A childbirth refresher course is recommended for women who have had a baby in the last five years. This type of class reviews changes in hospital routines and birth practices and is a good refresher on coping skills, breathing techniques and other strategies. A class for siblings and a breastfeeding refresher class are also recommended.


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    I had a cesarean birth with my first baby; how can I prepare for this birth?

    Check with your health care provider regarding your options for this birth. Also, check with the facility where you plan to deliver about any applicable classes they offer.

    Return to Frequently asked questions during pregnancy
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