Childbirth Education Classes
The Women's Pavilion offers a supportive and comforting atmosphere for the birthing family. Highly trained maternity nurses, lactation consultants, midwives, and physicians are all available to help make the physical and psychological adjustment to being a new mom as easy as possible.
You and your family are supported in having the kind of birth experience you want. Although safety for you and baby are our first concern, we also believe that childbirth is a profound experience for women. To that end, satisfaction and comfort are also very important.
You will be asked at around 36 weeks to fill out a birth plan. This document, along with the childbirth education classes, will help you become familiar with the different choices you have in creating the birth you want.
We offer many childbirth education classes.
Some birth experiences that require special preparation are as follows:
4-Week Childbirth Preparation Class: This class gives comprehensive information and instruction about late pregnancy, labor, birth, and the immediate postpartum period. Along with several videos, time is used to discuss dealing with fears and to teach a variety of comfort measures to support a woman in labor. We also review use of medication in labor, the birthing environment at St. Mary's, common protocols, waterbirth, newborn care, and possible interventions like Cesarean births. Healthy Families usually visits to discuss community support programs for new parents and we do a tour of the Birthing Center.
2-Day Childbirth Class: The 2-day class is an abbreviated version of the 5-week class. The focus is on helping you through labor and birth. Due to time constraints, we do not cover several topics such as waterbirth, newborn and postpartum care. We do cover several labor comfort measures and offer an optional tour of the Birthing Center at the end of the Saturday class. This would also be a great refresher class for parents having another child.
Breastfeeding Class: We recommend this class before the baby is born. We'll present important information you'll need to know about breastfeeding and how to incorporate it into your life. You will learn how to latch your baby to breast after birth and we'll show a video on babies' instinctual wisdom. Dads will also learn how to support the mom and baby for a successful breastfeeding experience. Community resources will also be discussed.
Breastfeeding Support Group: This group is a walk-in opportunity for parents to meet and share experiences with other parents in an atmosphere supportive of breastfeeding. There is no set agenda and questions are welcome and encouraged.
CPR Class: You will learn basic skills for cardiac and respiratory resuscitation for infants and children. Choking management will also be taught. This is not a CPR certification class. It can be taken early in pregnancy or after the baby is born. You will need to be able to get onto the floor to practice with the mannequins.
Gentle Relaxing Yoga: Prepare your mind and body for one of the most rewarding and challenging events of your life. Whether you are an experienced yogi or new to the practice, you can receive many benefits from this class. Work to open and strengthen the legs, back and pelvic floor, improve postural alignment to alleviate back pain, and practice breath and meditation exercises to help with labor. Please bring a blanket and pillow to class.
SafeSitter Class: This class is for 11- to 14- year-old girls and boys to learn how to become safe babysitters. This is a national curriculum with the motto of "Better sitters today, better parents tomorrow." Many skills are taught, including safety, choking prevention and treatment, first aid, and behavior management.
Sibling at Birth Class: This class will be individually arranged with you when you call in. We will meet with you and your child to teach and discuss what happens during birth. We will also spend time listening to the child's ideas, thoughts, and feelings about being at the birth to help you put a family birth plan together. A video of birth will be shown and a tour of the Birthing Center provided.
Sibling Class: This class is designed for children ages 3 and older. They will learn a little bit about the anatomy of where babies live and grow. We will talk about what to expect after the baby is born and what is so special about being an older brother or sister. We show a video, practice holding a baby doll, diapering, and blanket-wrapping. We end the class with a tour of where their new baby will be born.
Waterbirth: At the Women's Pavilion we believe that waterbirth is a safe birthing alternative. We have a special tub for planned waterbirth. Although there are tubs in each room, this large tub is more conducive to a waterbirth. We encourage women to use the smaller tubs for comfort during labor. If you think waterbirth is a style of birthing that you are interested in, please talk to your midwife or physician. You will be asked to watch a video, discuss the pros and cons of this choice at length, and sign a special consent form prior to the start of your labor.