A birthing class is going to be one of the most helpful and potentially most traumatic things you can do to prepare for the arrival of the baby. Let’s be honest as a first-time dad to be, you honestly have no clue what to do when your partner turns around to you and says, “I think the baby is coming”. Sure, you may have read a couple of books or some blog posts, but when it comes down to it, how much are you actually going to remember? A birthing class is great because it makes everything more real, you can ask loads of questions and learn from other experiences. But there is also no way you are prepared to see that many natural birth videos of babies’ heads crowning. It is also going to freak you out when you realise just how many things can happen during the course of labour.
What you will learn
The reason I say that the classes are helpful is because honestly you are going to learn a lot. My partner bought me a couple of books to read early on the pregnancy. I had read up on things such as a mucus plug, epidural, the various stages of labour etc, but while I had an academic understanding of what they were, there is only such much you can glean from reading a very long text book (and how many of us really enjoyed studying biology in school!). During the course of the classes you will learn what kinds of breathing technique your partner should use during labour, the various positions for labour and birthing (the image we all have from TV is actually far from what labour is actually like). The options for pain relief, when they can be administered and what potential side effects there are and other considerations. What each potential complication during labour could mean and what the best courses of action are. How to plan the birth, what to do when the baby arises, and what happens in the event of medical intervention being needed such as an emergency C-section. You may want to spend your time doing something else, but honestly, unless you know all of the above, you should totally sign up for the classes.
Get to know other parents to be
Another great benefit of the classes is that you get to know other parents to be. While you may have friends and family who have kids, its extremely comforting to know people who are going through the exact same thing as you at roughly the same moment. Its weird how the human brain works when it comes to things like this. So, for example, when your baby is 2 months old and does something that freaks you out, it’s a lot more comforting hearing another kid is doing the exact same thing, as opposed to hearing from your cousin “yeah they do that at that age, don’t worry about it”. Because you are going to worry about it. The same goes for both the challenges of pregnancy, and from a guy’s perspective the challenges of dealing with a pregnant partner. Most birthing classes will have a social element, WhatsApp groups, coffee / beer get togethers and so on as well.