Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Correction! (and My Experience with Prenatal Classes)

First Off, I missed some important classes offered in Ottawa in my last post and also wanted to make a correction - Mothercraft offers a fee-based class tailored to all expectant couples in Ottawa. According to Mothercraft staff, their content is similar to that which is offered through the Ottawa Childbirth Education Association. My apologies for confusing this with their Birth and Parent Companion Program, which is designed for families with little or no support. I blame my pregnancy brain for this mistake :)

And thanks to all my readers for pointing out other great classes in the city - how lucky we are to have so many choices!

Birth to Breastfeeding
Healthy Beginnings (the Bradley method)
Journey Into Life (Hypnobirthing)
Mother Nurture Childbirth Services (Ottawa Valley)
Ottawa Prenatal Services (Riverside South)

I didn't give much thought to prenatal education in early pregnancy. I was too busy hugging the porcelain god to care about labour stages and phases. However, with each visit to the midwife, I always noticed the little sign for prenatal classes being offered through the clinic.

These were classes specific to midwifery clients. It made much more sense to me to take classes geared towards the care I was receiving. The hospital classes are more for clients of OBs and family doctors, and the processes you go through when in labour are completely different. For example, you can not page your OB at 1 a.m., while screaming into the phone "I'M IN LABOUR...DO SOMETHING!!" An OB will not come to your house to assess your progress, and they certainly don't appreciate labouring women screaming at them to do something (I doubt midwives appreciate this either, but we're not really screaming....we just feel so much more comfortable making our voices heard when there's a sympathetic woman in the room :)

There are a few key things I learned at my classes that could NOT be taught through an online course or YouTube. Why? Because I needed face-to-face communication from an experienced teacher to really allow these points to sink in.

1) It's impossible for your partner/husband to be your sole support person. They need to pee, eat, and drink water too. Hiring a doula was the best thing we ever did.

2) You are not truly in labour unless you think you might be dying (just kidding, I don't think Julie said this - although she certainly got us prepared for the possibility of a long early labour, and provided us with creative ways to cope)

3) If your labour is progressing normally, there's no reason why you can not have a natural birth (everyone in the class was aiming to birth without pain medications, and we all did it!)

4) If labour is abnormal then interventions may not only be necessary, but welcome!

5) Unexpected outcomes are a possibility. It's best to think about them, and prepare as much as you can for them. You can't think straight while in labour.

6) And finally, prenatal classes are not only about the education - they're also about friendships and support. Our prenatal classes have paid for themselves, time and time again.

What was the most important thing you learned from your prenatal classes?


  1. With my first I was under an OB's care and gave birth at the General, so that is where we took our course. Looking back, I don't really remember learning anything new really. I think it was just reassuring to me that I was prepared after having the instructor explain everything in person. There was a focus on pain medications/interventions available which didn't interest me since I was planning on a natural birth and there was little focus at all on comfort measures - just a little about breathing. I was clearly under the wrong care and took the wrong course for my needs.

    1. I guess it's all such a learning process! Perhaps that's why the second feels a bit easier - we now know what we want.

  2. Just came across your blog! Also an Ottawa gal. Excited to follow! I'm currently 11 weeks pregnant. Two other Ottawa groups I'm aware of that are based in Riverside South are:

    I'm planning to go with with the first. I took two classes with them before but sadly that pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage. Anxious and exited to go back!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Congrats on your pregnancy Stephanie, although I am sorry to hear of your past loss. Thanks so much for the links! Nesting in Ottawa was mentioned in my last post, but I'll definitely add Ottawa Prenatal Services the list - I hope you enjoy the classes!

    3. Thanks for you kind words Misty!


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