That is an excellent question!
Information needs for future parents vary, and taking prenatal classes isn’t necessarily seen as required by certain couples. Because let’s face it, prenatal classes or not, the baby will be born!
When should I sign up for prenatal classes?
First of all, it’s a good idea to plan ahead; see the options (face-to-face, video, live online, private, with the help of reading on the subject, etc.) and then consider the possible course dates for the formula you prefer. Ideally, if you’re going to register for face-to-face, online or private courses, it’s best to do so at the end of the first trimester, after you’ve received the results of your nuchal translucency ultrasound and genetic screening labs. That way, you’ll have a better chance of finding a place for the two of you at the desired time, later in the pregnancy. It’s fair to say that between 20 and 35 weeks of pregnancy is often the best time to take prenatal classes. You don’t want to be too close to your due date. Remember, pregnancy is full-term at 37 weeks (three weeks before the expected due date of 40 weeks), and the baby could arrive at any time! So you’ll feel more secure.
I would like to share some comments I have received from nurses that assist during labour, doctors and even parents who have experienced childbirth. All agree that a couple that is prepared for birth is noted for their:
They know more about different alternatives, choices that they can make and take personal decisions based on different opportunities.
Prepared parents are also noted for their:
They better understand the evolution of a pregnancy, what is happening to them while waiting for the start of labour. They understand the vocabulary that is often used by health professionals to communicate with them during the stages of pregnancy and childbirth.
Additionally, they’re noted for their:
They feel more confident about themselves and the staff, as they’re dealing with fewer unknowns, are more at peace, are less scared and calmer when the big day arrives. They know more about what to expect, what they have to do and how to prepare for it, where to go, etc.
I only cited comments that I hear very frequently, and I think these might show you that being well prepared can help you experience the arrival of your baby with a more peaceful state of mind. I think it’s a good idea to take classes because you will never again give birth to your first baby.
For couples that have already had children, you should first focus on your information needs, topics that you would like to learn more about, because no pregnancy is like another, even for the same mother. You could use the videos found on my website to learn more about themes that interest you. These will provide you with additional resources to those you have already learned.
I hope you have a great pregnancy and a fantastic experience becoming parents.
The Baby Expert