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.

Tips for Choosing the Right Prenatal Class – Part 1 of 2

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birth, Nannies, Parenting, Triplets, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 03-09-2013

PPL_logoThanks to Alba Aguanno, RN, BScN, LCCE and Director of Childbirth Education at Port Perry Lamaze for inspiring and contributing to this blog post on the important topic of choosing the best prenatal class for you!

Expectant parents sometimes wonder if they should take childbirth classes at all. With a range of childbirth education options available, choosing the right class can be confusing, especially for those expecting twins or triplets!

Here are some tips to consider when choosing a childbirth preparation class.

1. Credentials

certificateFirst, inquire about the credentials of your potential instructor. Some have formal medical training or educational certification, while others have none. Are they health professionals (registered nurse, physiotherapist, medical doctor, chiropractor, or midwife), or do they have considerable experience with expectant parents and newborns?

Have they completed a recognized, formal course on childbirth education or education in general: Lamaze International certification (LCCE), International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association – Childbirth Educator (CBE), Childbirth International (Dip CBEd), or Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) or a Masters in Education (M.Ed.) with an emphasis on early learning and/or adult education?

The Lamaze-Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) credential is the most widely-recognized and respected qualification in this field. It is the only childbirth education credential accredited by the U.S. National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), a government body ensuring quality in certification programs.

Certification doesn’t necessarily ensure an ideal learning experience, but it can certainly inspire expectant parents’ confidence that they are getting the most current and correct information.

2. Experience

Consider the instructor’s years of childbirth education experience: If they have been doing this a long time, they may offer a wealth of experience, but they may also be “burnt out”. Conversely, a newer instructor may be enthusiastic, but a little too “textbook”, lacking extensive real-life experience with twins, triplets and their parents.

Also, consider the amount of experience in other class content areas such as breastfeeding and early parenting support, especially with multiple births families. The last thing you need as an expectant parent is a child birth educator who has little or no experience with twins, triplets and quads.

3. Testimonials/Recommendations

handshakeDoes the potential instructor publish testimonials and endorsements for their classes? Read the feedback carefully to get a better picture of what past participants have thought of the classes.

Also, consider who is recommending the class. Have you found it on your own, were you recommended by a friend who heard about it or who took the course, or were you recommended by your obstetrician, family doctor, or midwife?

Many providers will collect endorsements from past students, and will publish at least a few of these on their website. If not, ask to see some, or speak to someone else to see what they thought of the class or instructor.

4. Location & Class Size


all-four-300x199Ask where (specifically) the classes will be taught.

Educators teach in a variety of environments. Some teach in hospital classrooms or medical offices, while others teach in community centres; some even teach in their homes or yours! Increasingly, prenatal classes are offered online, even prenatal classes for twins and triplets. Be sure to check the other tips before enrolling in an online class.

Some providers keep their class sizes small to maintain the quality of instruction and to facilitate meaningful interactions with participants. In certain cases, private classes may be offered. This can be ideal if you are in a remote part of town, where there are no other couples expecting twins or triplets, and you don’t want to be the class circus side show with unique prenatal issues particular to your multiples pregnancy.

There can be a lot to think about when deciding to enroll in prenatal classes, but for families expecting twins, triplets or more, the decision is among the first steps to a healthy twins pregnancy, labour and delivery.

More tips coming in Part 2… stay tuned! 

Twins’ Birthday Coming Up?

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Posted by vera | Posted in Birthdays, Parenting, Triplets | Posted on 17-02-2013

twins birthdayOne challenge faced by parents of multiple birth children is the need to foster their individuality while celebrating their twinship. (Or triplet-ship, or… you get the idea!) Especially during holidays, where all children in the set will get a gift, it can be tricky to strike the right balance between “special” and “fair”.Making each twin or triplet’s special day unique need not be an expensive endeavour, but it can be time consuming.

A Unique Valentine’s Day Treat

Our family celebrates valentine’s day each year with a little something for the kids. Usually this is a small chocolate heart or something of that nature tucked into each boy’s lunch bag. The treats are equal in size, but different in design. One year Alex got a chocolate “A”, for example, while Simon got a chocolate “S”; another year each boy got a chocolate heart, one wrapped in red foil, the other in gold.This year, my girlfriend made each twin a bag with his name on a card that read “26 things that I love about (name)”. Inside the bag were 26 little cards, one for each letter of the alphabet. On each little card was written word that begins with that letter of the alphabet, and that describes that twin.

Being Fair With Twins Or Triplets Is Critical

Although the boys loved their little alphabet card bags, they immediately checked their adjectives against their co-multiple’s bag to ensure that both had gotten similarly flattering descriptors. Thankfully, my girlfriend had suspected this might happen, and had carefully selected each child’s words to ensure fairness. (Nevertheless, Simon noticed that Alex got “quick” for Q, and protested loudly that he hadn’t therefore gotten “fast” for F!)

Celebrating Both The Twinship And The Individual

Although coming up with a fair yet unique gift for each child can be somewhat time-consuming, it is a great way to let your twins, triplets or more know how special each of them is to you individually, as well as in a group.So, if you have a birthday or another holiday coming up soon in your multiple births family, consider how best to celebrate both their collective and individual identities!

What Do You Do If You’re Pregnant with Triplets?

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Posted by vera | Posted in Parenting, Triplets, Twins or Multiple Birth Pregnancy | Posted on 15-02-2013

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tripletsMany people who sign up for our multiples-specific, online prenatal course are expecting twins. But what if you are expecting triplets or quadruplets?

If you are pregnant with triplets, then finding high-quality prenatal classes that deal specifically with multiple births pregnancies is even more important.

Most people wait until they are at least 8 weeks pregnant with twins before looking for prenatal classes, and I have had couples contact me as late as 33 or 34 weeks pregnant with twins!

Although the old adage “better late than never” could certainly apply to prenatal classes, in my opinion, sooner is better, especially with triplets. There are many things you can do early on in your pregnancy to increase the chances of a healthy outcome later on, and with a multiples pregnancy, you may not have as much time as you think you do…

Triplets Arrive Early

A full-term singleton pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. Twins born at 37-38 weeks are considered “term”, and according to an article posted on Baby Centre’s website, most triplets are born at 33 weeks gestation (quads often arrive at 29 weeks or before).

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