Childbirth preparation classes

Childbirth preparation classes will clear up your doubts regarding pregnancy, childbirth and how to care for your baby

As your baby's arrival approaches, it's normal to have lots of questions: How do I recognize the symptoms of labor? When do I have to go to the hospital? The best way to find out is by joining a childbirth preparation class, which will help you to prepare for the birth of your child in the most natural way possible.

Why should I go to a childbirth preparation class?

Childbirth preparation classes will give you the information and confidence to manage your pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal period. A fear of the unknown generates anxiety and fear.

The birth of your baby will be easier if, as parents, you know how to control your emotions, and also if the mother is prepared physically.

Healthcare professionals will help to resolve any doubts you may have during the pregnancy, delivery, and postnatal period.

What's more, these lessons provide significant psychological support since you can talk and share ideas and experiences with other pregnant couples.

Where can I find a childbirth preparation class?

Childbirth preparation classes are available through different channels:

  • The public health system offers free childbirth preparation classes at health centers. Typically, these workshops are organized and run by midwives and sometimes involve other specialists (e.g., psychologists, gynecologists, and pediatricians).
  • Similarly, many medical insurance plans offer childbirth preparation classes. Please read your health insurance information to find out where these classes are held.
  • Private, individual or group classes. There is a wide range of activities aimed at pregnant women to prepare physically and psychologically for giving birth: prenatal gymnastics, prenatal yoga, water preparation, breastfeeding classes, etc.

When choosing a course, it is important to consider the timetable and whether you'll be able to make up any missed classes.

When should I start?

Most childbirth preparation courses start during the sixth or seventh month of pregnancy. However, some centers hold information sessions earlier. It is always to best to ask your midwife or gynecologist.

As regards physical preparation, prenatal gymnastics, yoga, etc., you can start taking classes as soon as you find out you are pregnant, unless otherwise indicated by your doctor.

The mother can attend classes alone or with a companion. Ideally, you should attend classes with the person who will accompany you during the childbirth, so that you can learn the breathing and relaxation techniques together. Furthermore, the presence of the future father can boost the mother's confidence and help her to relax.

These classes also provide psychological support to the parents as they can talk and share ideas and experiences with other pregnant couples.

What will I learn?

The childbirth preparation classes organized by health centers and private insurance companies normally combine theory with practice. There is a wide range of topics.

In theory classes, you may receive information on:

  • Relaxation and breathing techniques to help control pain.
  • How to distinguish the symptoms of labor and what steps to follow.
  • Different ways of giving birth: vaginal childbirth, Cesarean section, water childbirth, etc.
  • Epidurals for a painless childbirth.
  • Natural childbirths without epidurals and natural options for relieving pain.
  • Postnatal care of the mother.
  • Breastfeeding.
  • Care of the newborn. 

What's more, the parents can resolve any doubts they may have about the pregnancy, childbirth, and postnatal period. Practical classes prepare pregnant women physically to manage the childbirth:

  • Exercises to stay in shape and alleviate aches and pains.
  • Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and perineum.
  • Relaxation techniques to alleviate pain at different stages of the childbirth.
  • Breathing techniques for contractions and pushing.

Also for second pregnancies and Cesarean sections

Even if it is your second pregnancy, it is a good idea to attend childbirth preparation classes as refreshers on how to breathe during contractions and push during labor.

Likewise, it is important to attend the classes if you plan to have a Cesarean section as the exercises will help you to stay in shape and relieve the typical aches and pains of pregnancy. Last but no least, the theory part of the classes is useful for all pregnant women.