“How will the baby know to latch on? Will my milk be sufficient?”
“I’m always hungry. Is my baby going to have weight issues?”
“My shoulder hurts, my back is broken, my feet are swollen, and my neck is sore.”
“How will my body push the baby out?” “How will I hold a tiny baby without hurting him?”
The mind of a pregnant woman is constantly buzzing with questions. I’ve been pregnant twice, and both times, I felt woefully overwhelmed with my lack of knowledge. The great expanse of the Internet doesn’t exactly help, as the amount of information (accurate or otherwise) can cause another batch of questions to erupt from your mind. Books aren’t as useful as they appear. They offer facts, but won’t answer any specific questions.
Luckily for the parents-to-be, we now live in the age of the antenatal classes. A boon to every new mother who is preparing for the big life-changing moment about to take place.
4 reasons why a prenatal class is highly recommended
Before the birth of your little one, it’s best to ensure you’re informed, healthy and aware. Whether you opt for an online course or choose to attend a live session, here are five topics that make these classes highly useful. We highly recommend them.
Once your baby is out, the first thing many doctors do is place the little one on your chest.Ideally, one should feed baby within 1-2 hours of birth (unless there is a complication). But there are hospitals that may end up giving formula to your healthy, full-term baby when the first attempt to latching fails. To avoid this, it is advisable to take a lactation class that prepares you for any feeding-related obstacle that may arise.
While breastmilk is the natural and the best source of nutrition for your child, breastfeeding may need some training. While most babies instinctively know how to latch on and suckle, there are many issues that may arise, like poor latching, supply issues or slow weight gain — making nursing seem like an uphill battle to an already tired and nervous new mother. Many mothers are confused as to whether or not they are feeding their baby enough. Should they supplement with formula? Should they express milk? Will there be enough to breastfeed for six months exclusively? The pressure new mothers face is tremendous.
A lactation class helps you understand the basics of breastfeeding, latching, feeding positions etc. They also explain the importance of breastfeeding, and how you can use it to bond with your baby. As well as the importance of EBF and the ways of achieving it. The internet may cover most some of the more obvious nursing problems, a class will show you the correct techniques and prepare you for:
- Learning different feeding and latching positions
- Dealing with engorged breasts
- Avoiding/treating blocked-duct/abscess in the breast; it can become serious if neglected
- Dealing with low milk supply
- Healing sore or hurt nipples
- Burping the baby
- Expressing milk with a breast pump
- Understanding low versus normal supply
2. Prenatal exercise/yoga
During my sixth month of pregnancy, I developed intense pain in my left thigh. It came out of nowhere, but only got worse every day. Then my back gave out. Before I lost any more body parts, I tried prenatal yoga, on the recommendation of a new mother. Prenatal yoga was pregnancy changing. Within the first three sessions, all my aches and pains disappeared, and my body felt supple and limber.
Prenatal yoga is a series of gentle, light and slow stretches that improve your body’s health and flexibility. It also includes breathing techniques that help you relax and decrease stress. These techniques are also useful during labour. However, make sure you get your doctor’s approval before you take a class.
Benefits of prenatal yoga:
- Relieves muscular pain
- Lowers risk of premature labour
- Helps you sleep better and de-stress
Exercise during pregnancy:
This calls for another post :-). Typically one can continue doing most forms of exercise that they were pursuing actively before pregnancy. However one needs to be vigilant. During pregnancy, hormonal changes loosen your joints and ligament and other changes . So, always listen to your body. And perform exercise under guidance. And, it is best to consult your doctor about the type and frequency of exercise you plan to pursue during pregnancy.
What exercises to avoid during pregnancy:
- Any new, or fast-paced, calorie-burning movements
- Any stretch that feels uncomfortable
- Doing any inversions or stomach-based exercises
3. Lamaze/Natural childbirth techniques
Childbirth can be a scary thought for most first-time mothers. Most women are convinced it will be the toughest task they’ll ever have to face. Worse, the exponential rise in C-section birth has made it a defacto way rather than an emergency/medical requirement.
Lamaze or natural childbirth classes are designed to eliminate baseless fears surrounding childbirth, to offer guidance and support, along with proper breathing and labouring techniques.
Lamaze or natural birthing techniques prepare you towards:
- Massaging and breathing techniques during pregnancy & labour
- Understanding birthing positions
- Managing labour pain
- Boost confidence
- Prep partner/family for natural birth support
- Detailed information regarding each step of the pregnancy, the birthing and the first few months after
4. Nutrition during pregnancy
Pop culture seems to think that pregnancy is a woman’s free ticket to abandon all forms of healthy and sensible eating and delve deep into gluttony. After all, weight gain is imminent, might as well enjoy the ride. Sadly, it could not be further from the truth. You’re not eating for two! You are eating for you, and a very small fetus, ho until your third month is the size of a lemon. You’re only required to put on one-two kg per month during your pregnancy.
Yet many to-be mothers seem to go on a binge and put on over 20 kgs when it’s time for delivery. To prevent it from happening, pregnancy nutrition classes are held to advise the mother on the correct diet needed for her and her growing baby. They also bust many myths that have been passed down through generations, like consuming ghee during the last trimester will help the baby slide out through the birth canal easily (Ghee is good but it doesn’t lubricate birthing canal).
Benefits of guided nutrition during pregnancy:
- Dietary plan for each trimester
- Knowledge of micronutrients and supplements that are good for the baby
- What foods to avoid
- Which old wives’ tales are true and which are false
- How to gain weight the right way
Pregnancy and childbirth is a natural process. But many a time, people treat it like a disease. The birth of your baby will be one of the most joyous moments in your life. Prenatal classes help to enhance the experience and prepare yourself as you enter this new phase in your life. They also help you separate fact from fiction and teach you the right way to handle your pregnancy and birthing experience. They also help you to deal with what comes after the baby is born, which is where the real work begins.