LEWISTOWN - Being prepared for the birth of a child requires nine months of books, movies, pamphlets, research and doctor visits.
In an effort to further prepare expectant mothers and partners, The Family Place of Lewistown Hospital is offering prepared childbirth classes and a breastfeeding basics class.
"Having a child can be a wonderful but stressful experience," said Beth Sharpless, prenatal nurse education and class coordinator for The Family Place. "The classes we offer provide couples with a hands-on experience to help them better prepare for the birthing process as well as when they leave the hospital."
Photo submitted by Keria Meals
Family Place instructors include, from left, Darlene Kress, RN, LCCE, Elizabeth Sharpless, RNC, BSN, CCE, Jill Benner, RN, CBC, CCE, and Misti Markley-Aultz, RN, CBC. Rebecca Couch, RN, BSN, CCE is absent from the photo.
The five-week prepared childbirth classes are scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday from Aug. 29 to Sept. 26. Topics include pregnancy issues, labor review, medications available during labor, breathing and relaxation techniques and care after delivery. The class instructor will be Rebecca Couch, registered nurse and certified childbirth instructor.
"My class covers what to expect when arriving at the hospital, the physical process of labor and delivery, pain control options, cesarean delivery, postpartum care and depression and relaxation and breathing techniques," Couch said. "The class also includes a tour of The Family Place."
It is important that the expectant mother have a partner present for each class, whether that be a husband, wife, mother, father or friend, Couch said. It is important that the partner learn about the birthing process so they are familiar with what is happening during labor and know what to expect, she added.
According to Sharpless, the prepared childbirth classes are 60 percent geared to the partner, or coach, showing them how to help the mother achieve a comfortable and positive delivery process.
During the final week of class the expectant parents learn about healthy newborn appearance, swaddling, bathing and more, Couch said. Couples will leave with a copy of the in-class PowerPoint presentation and a take-home study guide, she added.
The breastfeeding basics class is scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 10. Topics include nutritional benefits of breast-feeding, the basics of early breastfeeding and various position alternatives. The class will be taught by Jill Benner, registered nurse, certified breastfeeding counselor and certified childbirth educator. She also expects the partner to be present during class.
"Breastfeeding can be quite challenging in the first several weeks and the support from a partner is very valuable," Benner said. "It's very important for the partner and the mother to have the same information especially in regards to breastfeeding."
Attending a class, like breastfeeding basics, helps parents to understand the patience and persistence that is needed to trust the body, Benner said.
"(Parents) have to learn to be patient and keep with the task at hand, but not allow themselves to become too frustrated," Benner said. "Breastfeeding, as natural as it should be, can be quite difficult in the first couple of weeks, but if the mother sticks with it, the benefits are endless."
Both the prepared childbirth classes and breastfeeding basics class are free for women planning to deliver or have delivered at Lewistown Hospital. Class registration is available on-line or by calling 242-7110. Visit www.lewistownhospital.org for a full schedule of classes offered by The Family Place.