When I was pregnant with my first child, my husband and I really did not know what to expect. Thus, we decided to attend childbirth education classes just weeks before the 30th week of my pregnancy. There is no point attending those classes too early because you would probably have forgotten what you learn by the time your bundle of joy arrives.
Childbirth education classes are indeed important. They are designed by specialists to prepare your partner and you mentally to welcome your new-born with ease. The last thing you need is added anxiety and stress! You should encourage your partner to attend all the classes with you. There are so many areas that he needs to be involved in and you would probably not know how important he is in every aspect of your pregnancy and labour till you learn them from the classes. For example, he needs to help you with the antenatal exercises that are so important for your physical well-being during pregnancy. He will also learn how important he is during your labour and his subsequent role as a father.
You will definitely hear about the labour pain of many friends and colleagues who are mothers. It seems to be “fun” for them to share their frightening birth stories to pregnant women. In childbirth education classes, you will learn about the various methods of birth and probably, your instructor will show you video clips of them. They will be presented to you in a “textbook” manner, hence making childbirth less frightening and stressful to think about. You will also understand your gynae better.
In Singapore, most hospitals provide childbirth education classes. My husband and I attended the programme conducted by Mrs Wong Boh Boi from ParentCraft Centre of Thomson Medical Centre. She is one of the most famous educators in childbirth education, having published a few books in the field. While there are classes conducted by other specialists in the area, I insisted on attending Mrs Wong’s classes because of her experience and reputation in the field.
Mrs Wong taught us a lot from antenatal exercises to the various birth options to first-aid for babies. I still remember the incredulous look she had on her face as she shared with us that “it is nonsense that you cannot shower or wash your hair after birth”. She insisted on observing personal hygiene especially in our tropical climate. She is not being westernized in her thinking by telling us this. She is being realistic and practical and we need an educator like her in childbirth education programmes, because we do not need pregnancy, labour and baby care to be sugar-coated.