Sunday, October 16, 2005

Prenatal class: Session 1

Greg and I went to our first prenatal class this weekend, which is run by Birthcare inc. It is one of two Saturday sessions we are attending this month. Of all the women present, I had the latest due date (but really, most of the due dates were days apart, so it's not a huge gap). We began by discussing the various physical and emotional changes that we have experienced as part of pregnancy, and we also spoke about the changes in our relationship with our spouses/partners/whatevers. I had to say that in my case, I think this pregnancy has enhanced my relationship with Greg. I think it would be hard to experience something so special without getting closer - of course, there was one husband who took off during the course for a few hours to go play hockey - so many it is less significant for some. The rest of class focussed on details of pre-term labour, early labour, stages of labour, and post-partum emotions. I feel a bit more confident about what to do when - i.e. when to go to the hospital, when to call the doctor etc. (of course, theory is one thing... reality is another). There was an exceptional birth plan template in our booklet - everything I read told me I should have a birth plan, but this one actually included a list of what is available/possible. It is a lot easier to identify your preferences if you know what's actually out there. There was of course, a labour video. It was very structure and educational in tone, but there were certainly enough live shots to be scary too. I learned quite a bit about the stages of labour (with which I was completely unfamiliar) - but I think what was really important was the emphasis on what our spouse can do to help comfort and support us during the process. We tried lots of fun exercises involving massages and various supportive positions. There were also breathing exercises and lots of attention paid to methods of relaxation. As far as the breathing is concerned, it is greatly similar to what I've been using in Taekwon-do for so many years. It's nice that at least something is old hat for me. The instructor was a registered nurse, and also a mother, and she was quite knowlwedgeable and friendly. I don't think the prenatal class is a place to really meet and socialize with other couples, but from an educational perspective, is truly worthwhile. Then again, I've always been of the opinion that if I learned only one useful thing in the class, I would consider it money well spent. The course itself took place in Sandy Hill at the Parent Resource Centre (apparently, a city-run drop in centre which seems like a wonderful place for parents to bring their children).

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