By now, your baby weighs 1 pound 5 ounces (700 g) and is about 8.5 to 9 inches (22 cm) in length. At this time the baby's bones are hardening and the brain is growing quickly. Baby's body parts now appear in proportion.
Attending childbirth education classes can help you and prepare for your baby's arrival. During these classes, you'll learn how to deal with the pain during labor and delivery, as well as proper diet and exercise during your pregnancy. It's a chance to bond with your partner and to meet other people going through the same changes related to pregnancy and a new baby.
It's normal to feel unsure about giving birth and to wonder what will happen the day of your delivery. Childbirth classes can help you prepare for that day. The education you gain can help you feel more confident and in control when the actual time arrives.
Three common childbirth education techniques are commonly taught. These are Lamaze, Bradley, and Read. While slightly different, they all teach how to manage pain with breathing techniques. You'll also learn about exercise and diet during pregnancy. Some focus on dealing with the pain of labor without medicine, while others support medicine. Before you take a class, it's a good idea to decide if you are considering medicines or an epidural so that you take the right class for you.
Many classes will help you in developing a birth plan. If you do outline a birth plan while in the class, just be sure that it will work hand in hand with the hospital where you are planning to deliver. Discuss your birth plan with your health care provider. Every hospital has different policies and procedures that they follow. Often the hospital you choose for your delivery may have childbirth classes available in the facility.
Meet some expectant moms in your area for moral and physical support. Join a group for pregnant women or enroll in a prenatal exercise class. You never know: You and your future baby may gain new, long-lasting friendships!
Reviewed By: LaQuita Martinez, MD, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Emory Johns Creek Hospital, Alpharetta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.