Parenting Classes - How Best To Prepare For Childbirth

Parenting classes are a great way to prepare for childbirth and parenthood in general, but are slightly different in focus and structure to birthing classes. Whereas birthing and pregnancy classes concentrate on the process of bringing a child into the world, and on nurturing that child during the postpartum period, parenting classes tend to focus on skills that you'll need as a parent to guide your child into adulthood over the course of the next 18 years.

Birthing Classes

Also called prenatal classes, these pregnancy courses teach couples how to ensure a safe, healthy pregnancy and about what they can expect to happen during labor and delivery. Lamaze classes and Bradley Method classes are two well know brand names for prenatal courses, but you can find more "generic" prenatal classes in your area by asking your health care provider where the training sessions take place. A pregnancy course may begin early on in your pregnancy, with the aim of teaching you about good pregnancy diet and lifestyle, whereas some birthing classes are recommended for the third trimester only, as childbirth actually approaches. In most cases, you'll be encouraged to attend classes with the person who'll be by your side when you give birth. You'll learn about the different stages of labor as well as pain management techniques.

Prenatal Class Ideology

Some classes are taught with a particular ideology in mind (for example, the aim of the Bradley Method is to have a drug-free, vaginal birth). Most classes will seek to educate you about your options in terms of pain relief, birthing position, home and hospital birth, etc., in order to allow you to make empowered choices about your birthing preferences. Make sure that the emphasis of a birthing class suits you before you sign up - talk to a course instructor and find out what her approach to pain relief is, for example. Don't be afraid to ask direct questions - if you don't feel good in a prenatal class environment, or you feel pressured into doing something, you will find preparation for childbirth more stressful.

Parenting Classes

You can probably find a parenting course in your area by asking your healthcare provider or social services department. There are many different types of parenting courses: some focus on caring for at-risk teens, or just adolescents in general. Others provide parenting tips for parents of infants or toddlers. In some cases, the price of these classes can be fully or partially subsidized, depending on need.

There are many different reasons for attending a parenting course. It can be hard for us to admit that we feel overwhelmed or daunted by the prospect of first time parenthood, or perhaps of having another child in an already large family - the thing that all parents have in common when they get into the classroom, however, is that they want the best for their children. Parenting courses can sometimes be taken in conjunction with family therapy or treatment for alcohol or substance abuse. The aim is always to help parents and children improve their relationships and communication in a non-judgmental way.

Online Parenting Classes

Parents whose busy schedules prevent them from attending a parenting class outside the home could try a course online. Although free online parenting courses are hard to come by, some will charge reduced rates according to your income level, or if you sign up for a full course of classes at once. Don't forget that there are lots of online articles about parenting which you can read for free. There are also plenty of parenting books available in bookstores for anyone who prefers to read on paper.

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