Saturday, January 23, 2010

Guest Post: Are Ante-Natal Classes for You?

Today’s Guest Post is from Michelle Jackson - a Registered Midwife, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator & Mum of 3:

I often get people asking ‘do I really need to go to Childbirth Classes’ …. ‘My mother never went and she survived’ …. Or …. ‘I’ve learnt everything from books – why would I want to go to Childbirth Classes’!


My honest answer is that it comes down to personal choice.


Antenatal Classes come in various forms and often vary considerably in style – but they all have one objective: Childbirth classes allow expectant parents to build their knowledge about what-to-expect for their impending labour; it’s stages, pain relief options, pregnancy information, possible interventions and coping strategies. Antenatal Classes aren’t there to turn you into a midwife or obstetrican - they purely aim to build knowledge which allows parents to make informed choices and decisions about their labour and more importantly can go a long way to reduce the anxieties and fears often felt towards labour.


More importantly, Antenatal Classes teach you about how to cope when you take your beautiful and precious baby home. Knowing what lies ahead can be very helpful for the expectant parent. Baby’s don’t come with a manual and no two babies are alike. Taking a baby home will be one the biggest and longest learning curve you will ever experience. Before I became a mother I thought I knew it all …… how mistaken was I! Being a mum of 3 has definitely opened my eyes to life after taking a baby home and my antenatal classes now reflect this. Labour is 1 day ….. a baby is for life. Even as a midwife, I needed reasurrance too. I didn’t get to wave these babies goodbye from the hosptial door after 3-4 days ……. I had to take them home! I’m not saying that Antenatal Classes are going to completely prepare you for taking your baby home, but they should definitely arm you with the confidence to take your baby home, what they need and how to survive those first few weeks.


It is important to do your homework and research what antenatal classes better suit you. Ask your family and friends about their experience, and/or your doctor and Midwife about what they would recommend. In today’s society we are all very busy and to commit to 4 to 5 weeks of nightly classes can, for some, often be very difficult. For others, sitting in a room with 20+ people doesn’t sound very inviting. Others like the idea of meeting other pregnant women going through the same experiences to talk to. A lot of good friendships have been fostered through Antenatal Classes.


As I said before …… it’s all about personal choice.


This is why I established Parents 2 B. I found that a lot of people didn’t have time to attend hospital antenatal classes (some even opted to not to go because they couldn’t fit the classes into their schedules) but wanted and needed what they offered. Parents 2 B is unique form of Childbirth Classes on the Gold Coast. Birthing Classes are conducted in the privacy of your own home ensuring confidentiality, adequate time for personal questions and the benefits of the class being directed to your own personal choices of birthing (whether labouring or even an elective Caesarean section). Twin and Multiple pregnancy classes are also catered for.


A little about me …….. In the past 16 years, I have worked extensively in both private and public practice in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. My experience includes all facets of pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting. I have previously held the position of Antenatal Education Coordinator for one of the busiest Private Maternity Hospitals on the Gold Coast. Currently I am working in a leading obstetric practice ensuring my knowledge remains at the forefront of maternity care. It enables me to maintain good working relationship with many of the Gold Coasts’ Obstetricians and Paediatricians. To ensure continuity of care, I also work closely with a private child health nurse and lactation consultant.


My personal birth and parenting experiences are vast. They include a vaginal delivery and caesarean section. As a result, I strongly believe that individual birthing and parenting options / choice is paramount. I aim to support, respect and inform parents to be of their birthing and parenting choices no matter what that may be.


Labour is a amazing journey into the unknown. It is important to focus on what awaits you at the end of your long, hard journey!


Please visit me at www.parents2bgoldcoast.com.au

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