Prepping for parenthood: The importance of childbirth education classes.

If you’re expecting, you have nine months to study for one of life’s biggest tests. And we’re not just talking about childbirth. Baby care, breastfeeding, preparing siblings for a new brother or sister—there’s a lot more labor involved in having a new baby than just labor itself. That’s why Heidi Churchfield is so passionate about getting new moms and dads to take classes at Covenant HealthCare. Heidi is the Childbirth Education Coordinator and Community Liaison at Covenant, who recently appeared on WNEM TV’s “Medical Moments.”

Covenant delivers over 2600 babies each year, so Heidi has seen quite a few parents come through the maternity ward. She’s seen that the ones who take classes are better prepared to handle childbirth and the months that follow. So she’s concerned when expectant parents think they can get all the information they need online. “Unfortunately, there’s a lot of bad information out there,” Heidi says. “We want to empower women with information that is evidence-based.”

Toward this end, Covenant offers a wide variety of classes to prepare parents for their new arrivals.

Labor & Delivery – In this class, moms-to-be and their support people learn the stages of labor and the physical and psychological changes that accompany each stage. They’ll also learn about:

  • Methods of relaxation
  • Positioning the body for more comfort
  • Massage techniques for comfort during labor
  • What happens during vaginal birth
  • What happens during cesarean birth
  • Postpartum care for moms

This childbirth education class can be taken over 5 weeks, meeting once a week, or as a one-day, 8-hour class on the weekend.

Baby Care 101 – Many new parents describe the anxiety they feel when they head home from the hospital with a new baby: What now? This class is the perfect antidote. New parents will learn:

  • Diapering, dressing, bathing and feeding the new baby
  • Keeping baby safe and secure
  • Brain development and age milestones

This class can be taken over 2 weeks with one session each week, or as a one-day, 5-hour class on the weekend.

Breastfeeding Class – Taught by experienced lactation consultants, this class can help ease the anxiety many new moms feel about breastfeeding. Though breastfeeding is a natural process and the healthiest option for new babies, that doesn’t mean it comes naturally to everyone. Our consultants are here to help. In this one-day, 2-hour class, they cover:

  • Correct positioning
  • Proper latching
  • How to know if your baby is getting enough food
  • Supply and demand of breast milk
  • Continuing to breastfeed after returning to work or school
  • Where to get help if needed

Sibling Education – For kids 3 to 9 who are becoming big brother and sisters, this is a one-session, hands-on class with parental involvement. Kids will learn the important role they play as an older sibling, then get a hospital tour to see where they will meet their new brother or sister for the first time.

Infant and Child CPR – Though not a certification course, this is an invaluable class for parents, grandparents and any caregivers who will be babysitting your child. Attendees will learn infant and child CPR techniques, as well as how to help someone who is choking. This class is taught in one 2-hour session.

Heidi points out one important, often-overlooked benefit of attending childbirth education classes: The camaraderie and support of other new parents. Knowing you’re not the only one with a lot to learn can be comforting.

Want to learn more about when and where classes are offered? Just check the Covenant Event Calendar.

Posted Date: 1/8/2019

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