Tips for Choosing the Right Prenatal Class – Part 2 of 2

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Posted by vera | Posted in Health, Parenting, Travel, Triplets, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 05-09-2013

PPL_logoOur previous blog post, by  Alba Aguanno, RN, BScN, LCCE and Director of Childbirth Education at Port Perry Lamaze investigated how best to consider credentials and more when choosing the best twins prenatal class for you – here are four more tips on choosing a multiple births prenatal class.  Thanks, Alba!

In addition to credentials and experience of the instructor, location of class and testimonials of other clientele, consider also convenience, content, currency and instructional style before selecting your twins or triplets prenatal class:

5.  Convenience

Most prenatal instructors offer their classes as a series of 6 to 8 weekly sessions, each running 2 to 3 hours.  Typically, these are offered after dinner on weeknights, or sometimes on weekends. Ask what nights are offered and make sure that your calendar can accommodate all of the sessions – plan ahead.

phone prenatal course instructorFor shift workers, commuters, professionals, those who need to travel for business, and those with either lots of commitments or unpredictable schedules, a 6 or 8 week commitment may not be feasible.  In this case, consider instructors who offer the content delivered in 2 full-day sessions.  You’ll get the same content, but delivered over one or two weekends.  For many, this is a much more convenient option.

For those who find such a condensed format challenging, or who can’t attend an on-site childbirth class due to work schedules, time constraints or medical conditions, online classes may offer a convenient alternative.  Be sure to find an online class that is multiples-specific, taught by a qualified instructor, and one who is willing to respond to individual questions either by email or telephone throughout the class.

6. Class Content

Ask for – and carefully examine – an agenda or course outline.  Look at the topics to be covered. 

Some classes just focus on labour and delivery, while others spend equal time on what happens after the babies are born, such as feeding, diapering, bathing, settling crying babies, caring for the birth mother immediately after birth, postpartum depression, changes in the family, and other related topics.  This is an especially important consideration when you will be bringing home two or more babies!

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For labour and delivery, make sure classes include a range of options for pain management including breathing, positioning, and relaxation techniques plus drugs and other interventions you may be faced with during labour and birth.  Caesarean section births should be covered in detail, as this is a birthing reality that families pregnant with twins and higher-order multiples must be ready to face.

A good twins-specific prenatal course provides couples with the knowledge and motivation they need to advocate for their childbirth health decisions and to provide care for their newborn children. This is supported through:

• Helping women realize their inherent abilities to give birth.

•  Providing current evidence-based knowledge on childbirth procedures and outcomes in the multiples context.

• Increasing the confidence of both women and their support persons that birth is a normal, natural process and encourages you to work with your body’s natural abilities.

• Helping couples understand their childbirth options and their role in the childbirth decision-making process in the multiples pregnancy context

• Teaching couples how to communicate their childbirth decisions to healthcare providers through verbal and written means

• Providing information on post-partum parenting and baby care of more than one baby

7.  Current Information and Resources

Ask what resources are being used, and try to determine how up to date these are.  Many instructors purchase videos and other resources and continue to use them year after year, without investing in refreshing the resources as new versions come available.  You may be learning with outdated information.

Pamphlets and other handouts should also be assessed for their currency and relevancy to the multiple births context.  Recommendations change over time as the results of new medical research come available.  Try to determine whether or not your instructor is keeping up to date with the latest developments.  

Some professionals, such as registered nurses, are required to stay current to maintain their nursing license, while Lamaze-certified instructors are required to take a number of continuing education courses each year to help them stay current.  Even a non-certified instructor, if she is a professional, will attend conferences and classes and keep up to date with reading.

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Find out when your instructor last held a set of twins or triplets in his arms.

8. Teaching Style

What is your learning style?  Do you learn best by reading, listening to lectures, watching demonstrations, or participating in activities?  

The best instructors use a variety of teaching techniques to ensure that all participants leave the class with the required information, regardless of their preferred learning style.  Ask your potential instructor what techniques they use to teach the class.

Conclusion 

Participation in childbirth classes has been known to decrease physical complications during labour and delivery and also to improve physical and mental health in the postpartum period.  

Following the tips outlined above will help you choose the right childbirth class for you.

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