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When’s the best time to take a childbirth prep class?
Q: I’m in my first trimester. When should I start Lamaze class?
A: It’s great that you’re planning ahead for your delivery. I typically advise patients to begin childbirth preparation classes in the third trimester. It’s best to have completed classes before your due date, so it’s wise to have had your last class by 37 weeks. If you’re carrying twins or have another reason to anticipate an early delivery, plan on completing your class sooner.

Some courses are six weeks in length, while others are all-in-one-day sessions. If you’re planning on a six-week class, think about starting the class near your 30th week of pregnancy. If you choose an all-day marathon, you could schedule this closer to your due date.

Even before you take Lamaze classes, you may wish to take other classes that can enhance your pregnancy. Prenatal yoga classes, meditation and prenatal water aerobics are popular and would allow you to begin breathing and relaxation techniques that you could carry over into labor.

In addition to childbirth classes, some couples choose to take baby care classes in the third trimester. These are particularly helpful for first-time parents who have limited experience with newborns. They provide useful information about caring for newborns and when to seek professional help. They can ease your transition into parenthood and help you to feel like a pro even before you have met your baby.