A wide variety of prenatal classes exist. Those available will depend on where you live. They are often are offered by health regions and by private organizations. Classes range from basics of early pregnancy to prenatal yoga. There are even special courses for mothers who are pregnant with more than one baby.
Most importantly, classes offer mothers-to-be and their partners the opportunity to connect with other moms. This is a chance to make friendships that can go beyond class and provide valuable social support. Often, these classes introduce available services, and give you a first look at community resources.
Many mothers find that a general class on early pregnancy helps explain changes in body and mood during pregnancy. They also show how to give a baby a healthy environment in which to grow. You can learn about nutrition, what to expect, and how to manage nausea.
In addition to an early pregnancy class, classes on nutrition often help. This class discusses what to eat and how to eat it during pregnancy. Nutritional needs change during pregnancy. Material provided in class helps make food choices less complicated.
Practical information often includes a review of Canada’s Food Guide and an explanation of the vitamins and minerals needed for growing babies. You may hear some helpful tips, such as reducing heartburn and nausea by eating small amounts more often.
Labour preparation classes provide information about labour and how it normally progresses. Your partner also has the chance to understand how events will unfold. Knowing whether to go to the hospital if experiencing difficulties during pregnancy, and when to go for labour, can help ease your mind.
Learning about labour can help you take charge of your own health. It often helps to mull over information before labour begins. This way, decisions are less rushed once labour begins. For instance, you might want to fully consider your pain relief options beforehand.
You probably already know that smoking during pregnancy harms both mother and baby. It has been linked to low birth weight, early labour, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Low birth weight is a significant risk to a baby’s health. You can help reduce the risk to your baby by quitting while pregnant. Staying off cigarettes after your pregnancy can also help protect your health.
Courses on stopping smoking are offered by most health regions. These classes are often free to mothers who are thinking about quitting. You can learn how to manage cravings, reduce stress, and identify and overcome obstacles, while remaining aware of emotional changes as you quit.
The health region in your area may offer prenatal classes at a low cost. Some regions reduce or do not charge a fee for the class. The hope is that most mothers and partners will attend and benefit from the information provided in these classes.
When choosing your prenatal class, please be sure the provider is both recognized by the health region and qualified to provide this type of education. For further information on prenatal classes, talk to your family doctor or obstetrician, local health region or hospital.