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Finding a Childbirth Education Class

During the seventh month, you and your partner will likely begin childbirth-education classes. Most women look forward to these sessions; men may initially see them as an inconvenience but ultimately find them fascinating (his dad probably can't help him out on this one). Regardless of how you both go in, you'll no doubt emerge a bit wiser. Try not to let all the medical lingo throw you. The point of childbirth education is to empower couples by informing them, and that includes providing a complete, candid picture. The three most common philosophies -- Lamaze, Bradley, and Read -- are all based on the theory that the pain of childbirth is intensified by fear, and their specific relaxation techniques are designed to alleviate that anxiety. Make sure the course you choose covers the following:

  • A blow-by-blow account of what to expect during your labor
  • The best positions and breathing techniques for easing your discomfort, including practice sessions
  • The important role of your husband or birth partner during labor and delivery
  • The pros and cons of different types of medication and medical interventions that may be used
  • Postpartum issues, such as circumcision and breastfeeding (You may also want to take a breastfeeding class. Ask your doctor or childbirth educator for a recommendation.)

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