If you want to do something good for yourself and want to help yourself through pregnancy in the best way and ultimately birth, you should look into finding a birth class. These kinds of classes will give you and your partner lots of information and support which will make the process easier. Usually the classes will be led by some kind of medical professional and be attended by other pregnant couples. You will be able you share concerns and advise with all of the involved and to build your confidence in your body and in your own capability to go through labor.
Choosing a class
Just as all people are different, so are all birthing classes. Some are lectures are just trying to inform you about which expectations you should have when the moment of birth arrives. Others have a much more hands on and interactive approach. The last mentioned are usually much smaller, mainly groups of around 10 couples, sometimes even smaller; this makes 1-on-1 interaction much easier and are better at creating the feeling of a safe space. Others classes take a more medical angle, talking more about the choices of delivery methods, types of pain relief, procedures and location of delivery. When looking around for a class, try first to acknowledge what you need out of a class, and then consult a doctor or hospital for offers in your local area.
A good class
There is by no means a one-shoe-fits-all class or set of rules of what to look for, but there are a few things all good classes should contain.
First of all, there should be at least 12 hours of classes made at your disposal, and these should spread out over a couple of months. Furthermore there should be a certain amount of flexibly to the when aspect. For the best results and for the most care you should look for classes which contains max 12 couples, as more than that seems to be disruptive. You should also demand of the class that the instructor has a certification from some sort of authority on the subject.
The curriculum of the class should include a large amount of pain management practices, such as relaxation, positioning, massage and breathing technics. There should be a part that takes focus on preparing your partner to be a figure of support in the delivery room. It will need to take you through all the stages of labor, give you tips on how to handle a newborn including breastfeeding, sleep cycles and communications between you in the couple. And last, there should be plenty of room for discussion and for asking questions, this is almost the most important point.
The amount of classes offered can be large and it can be hard to navigate, but remember to take your time and to be inquisitive when choosing. If you start out with a clear vision of what you are looking for and keep that vision in mind, you should be able to find the right class for you in no time.