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Are childbirth classes really necessary?
Q: Do you think it is necessary to attend a childbirth class and how do I find one in my area?
A: While it is true that your body is designed to instinctively deliver a baby, labor and delivery will be a lot less scary and a lot more enjoyable if you attend a childbirth class. A good childbirth class will inform you about labor, delivery and postpartum, and offers you a supportive network of other pregnant couples. You will learn techniques to help you and your partner relax, tune in to your body, and cope with labor pain. You should be taught about potential difficulties that may arise during labor and delivery, and strategies to lessen your fears, allowing you to approach your labor with openness and confidence. You should learn about natural delivery, your options for pain medication or epidurals, and how to prepare for unexpected situations, medical interventions or cesarean birth. My favourite classes do not have a set agenda for the perfect birth, but rather allow you to understand your options for labor, birth and postpartum and empower you to make informed choices.

Some classes include education on breastfeeding and infant care. If your course does not cover these topics, look for additional classes in these areas.

Classes may be given within a private obstetric practice or clinic, by your local hospital or birth centre, or by independent childbirth educators. To find a childbirth class, ask your health care provider for recommendations. Speak to new mothers in your neighborhood or do an on-line search. Your efforts to find a good class will be richly rewarded.