Well, if you haven't signed up yet, it's time to get ready for childbirth class! And trust me, you can find a class to fit your personality, whether you're planning on going all natural or you want a whole stack of painkillers. Where I live, there are lots of options! So, look into what feels right to you and your future bambino.
I started out by asking around my community to see what other moms suggested. Many had taken a local nine-week class offered by a midwife/doula combination. The classes were offered in the evenings once a week. Apparently, their approach to childbirth was "organic." I wasn't really sure what that meant at first. But the moms I talked to described their birth experiences as beautiful. They said they felt ready for childbirth and even kept in touch with other class members after they'd had their babies. It all sounded great to me, other than the nine-week commitment and the price tag. It was a little more than I could manage—both the time and the money. My husband also pointed out that some of the classes would be a waste of time for us—whole classes were going to focus solely on home births and we're planning on going to the hospital. So we crossed that class off our list and kept looking.
After talking about our ideas about how this whole birth process was going to go, we both seemed to want something that was going to be informative, possibly a social connection with other future parents in the area, and with a little insight into the hospital birth process. So, our search continued.
I got out my trusty computer and did a general search and was disappointed to find that the majority of classes offered in our area were very similar to the original nine-week class we'd already ruled out—some even discussed hypnosis to dull the pain of labor! Feeling frustrated, I went to the hospital's website to see what they suggested.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that the hospital offered a variety of classes on everything from information for expectant moms and dads, to older siblings and single parents. Some classes were one day and others lasted several weeks. Also, they offered infant CPR, health, and safety. I printed all the info out and my husband and I spent an evening deciding.
Compared with the local nine-week class, the classes through the hospital were much more affordable and fit any schedule. We opted for a one-day class with a tour of the birthing areas in the hospital, labor techniques, and helpful hints for the birthing process. We felt good about our decision, especially because we wanted to be more familiar with the hospital before the big day—you don't want to get lost trying to find your way to the delivery room when you're in labor, right?
If you haven't planned on taking a birthing class, it might be a good idea to look into one just to help answer any of those last-minute questions you might have and help calm yourself and your partner. No matter what, make a trip to the hospital, if you're planning a hospital birth, so that you know where you need to go when the big day comes!
Waist measurement: 42 inches
Weekly weigh-in: 166 pounds
Pregnancy symptoms: Weight gain! I'm definitely starting to gain weight and my belly is getting bigger quick!
My favorite pregnancy anecdote for the week: Are you thinking about acupuncture during your birthing? Yikes! I ran across this idea when I was researching childbirth classes.
Pregnancy "first" of the week: I signed up for a pregnancy class! It's just like going back to school. My husband and I are looking forward to going together and hopefully learning lots of new things and getting our questions answered. We're also looking forward to meeting others and maybe even making some new friends.
Doctor's visit: Yes. Regular four-week visit.
About the Photo: The above picture of the author was taken during her 29th week of pregnancy by Dean Lipoff.
Read the next installment: week 30