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Is a Prenatal Class about Childbirth or about Babies?

Prenatal Childbirth Preparation for Doctors' Patients

This term we use – Prenatal Class – is confusing, isn’t it?

Some parents-to-be are fascinated by, or worried about labour and birth and are wanting to spend a lot of time talking about it. They come to our 12-hour, six-week Childbirth Preparation classes and are happy to spend most of the time on labour and birth, and practicing comfort measures and coping skills, and find that it’s great that we also spend two entire hours talking about babies and breastfeeding.

Other parents, who are more worried about how they are going to cope with the baby once it is out, feel they would like to spend more time talking about babies and breastfeeding.

It’s for this second group of parents that we have designed the Parenting the Newborn series. It’s a three-week, six-hour series in which a postpartum doula and breastfeeding educator takes you though two hours on baby care and two hours on breastfeeding, and then a First Aid Instructor comes and teaches two hours of Infant First Aid and CPR.

Many of our parents take both sets of classes. And we encourage this by giving parents a $15 discount if they sign up for both classes at the same time. (We also acknowledge that there will be a little overlap between the classes.) Some parents take only one, or only the other.

I would say, that if you take only one, the Childbirth Preparation Class is the one to take. Experiencing childbirth in a healthy and satisfying way takes knowledge and preparation. Labour and Birth happen all at once, in a big storm. There is little time to consider, or problem solve during labour. The learning and considering and deciding needs to happen before labour starts – even though you may change your mind during labour itself – in fact you probably will.

You can learn baby care and breastfeeding over several week and months. Babies are very patient with fumbly parents, and every parent figures out their own way through the challenges of of the first weeks. In fact, the hormones you make (yes, parents of all genders make hormones when they are around babies) will help you be more attentive and respond more sensitively to your baby.

At Mothering Touch, we believe in people’s basic ability to give birth and care for their babies. We want parents to feel well-prepared and well-supported, to feel satisfied with their birth experience and to be able to enjoy the first weeks with their baby. That is the goal of all our classes and groups.

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When should I take Prenatal Classes?

 

I’ve been teaching Childbirth preparation Classes since 1992 and my feeling is that it is best to take classes in the third trimester of pregnancy.  That means AFTER 28 weeks.

Before 28 weeks, women tend to be focused on other tasks of pregnancy (See The Second Trimester for more info about this).  Women tend to become MUCH more interested in the process of labour and birth once their bellies get bigger and they get closer to their due date.  Also, you want to have the information fresh in your mind when you go into labour.  It doesn’t make much sense to learn it months before you need it.

You also want to choose a class that will end by the time you get to 38 or 39 weeks.  This is not really because you are likely to have the baby early, first-time moms are more likely to have their babies late than early.  But by 38 or 39 weeks, women tend to be quite uncomfortable and tired and coming to class in the evening or for a whole day on the weekend is not so much fun.

When you choose to do your class depends also on which format you take.  If you are doing a two-Saturday class, the best time might be in your 35th and 36th weeks.  If you are going to take a 4-week series of Sunday afternoons, you probably want to start by week 33 or 34.  And if you are going to take a 6-week series of weekday evenings, you should probably start in week 31 or 32.

Is it okay to take the classes starting as early as 28 weeks or ending as late as 39 weeks??  Well, of course if scheduling is difficult, it’s better to do them early or late than never at all.  But remember that the other mothers in your class will all be due around the same time and if you are due much before or much after them, you miss out on the mutual support and the companionship through those last weeks of pregnancy and first weeks of being new parents together.  We had one mom who started her classes when she was only 26 weeks phone and ask us to move her into a later series because she felt “not really pregnant” when she compared herself to the others in her class.

Please feel free to call us and have a chat if you are finding it difficult to choose the rights dates.  We are here to help!

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Keeping the Love Alive: When Partners Become Parents

Randy and Eva

My husband Randy and I have been together for almost 35 years now. We were together for seven years before having our first child. In that time we completed a total of 5 post-secondary degrees, got married (and organized a wedding with 120 guests), moved three times (including one move abroad), spent several long periods living apart because of school and work, lived with my parents (for a year) and renovated a 1500 square-foot apartment. We had lots of stress. And lots of arguments. We also had lots of opportunities to grow as a couple and as a team.

But it wasn’t until Daniel was born that we realized how important it was for us to be a team. Because now, we were not the only ones who would be made unhappy if our team did not succeed; our son would be made unhappy too. We were really stuck now!

Not only did we suddenly recognize the permanence of this team, but we also were suddenly aware of all sorts of issues we had each taken for granted. We had never thought to discuss questions like:

Who will get up in the night with the baby?
Whose paid work is more important?
Who decides how often we bathe the baby, or change his sheets, or wipe his nose?
Who makes sure there will be food in the fridge, clean clothes, toilet paper?

Continue reading Keeping the Love Alive: When Partners Become Parents

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We have a new floor!

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On the morning of October 31, Victoria had a record-breaking rainfall. More rain feel within a six-hour period than has ever been recorded since we started recording such things. And some of that rain leaked through the roof of our building at 975 Fort Street and seeped down the inside of the wall and flooded the floor of our Activity Room and The Nest at the back of Mothering Touch.

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The laminate flooring had to be ripped up and discarded, and big fans had to be brought in to dry up the walls and the concrete floor. The Saturday Childbirth Class still ran, on a slightly soppy floor. The Sunday and Monday classes ran at alternate locations (our house and that of my parents-in-law – Thank You Murray and Eleanor!) By Tuesday we had the foamy floor we use for the Baby Fair set up in the Activity Room, and we brought some of the large rugs from our house to make the room seem a little less cavernous. Childbirth Preparation Classes and Parenting the Newborn kept running, but Yoga and other activities and the Baby Groups could not run in the room as it was.

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Yesterday and today, a new vinyl-plank floor was installed. We still have to do some work on the walls and the baseboards, but the Activity Room and The Nest are functional again! I am so grateful for insurance and for restoration professionals, and for our lovely landlord who is being very supportive. I am grateful also to our customers and clients who have been understanding and patient with us as we went through this ordeal.

I look forward to seeing you all at Baby Groups next week. Yoga classes will begin again on Sunday morning. Dads’ Group is back on too. Life will be so much more fun and animated around here!

Have a good weekend! ~ Eva

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Census at Mothering Touch May 11 to May 17th

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We are Ten Years Old this spring! We can barely believe it ourselves. To mark this milestone, we want to do a census of our customers to find who you are and how we can serve you better. There is so much more going on here than ever before. More classes, more products, more of you… and we want to know what you think.


Please help us out by filling out a short, anonymous survey and we will give you a ticket for a draw for a $50 gift certificate which you can redeem for any of our baby stuff or fabulous classes!


So when you come to the store anytime over the next week we will ask you to fill out a survey. If you are here for a class or a group we ask that you fill out a class/group evaluation as well as a census form. We really do want to know what you think.


Thank you in advance for taking the time to help us out! And good luck on the draw!

 

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Yoga for Labour and Birth

 

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Come and try out our Monday night Drop-In Class taught by Yoga Teacher and Therapist and DONA-trained Birth Doula, Ann-Kathrin Martins.

Yoga for Labour and Birth focuses on preparing, toning and stretching muscles and joints which will be supporting and working for you through labour. We will practice yoga postures for various stages of labour. We will practice relaxation and breathing techniques as well as visualization, affirmations, mantras and helping the mother learn self-healing methods to allow for mind/body/breath connection.

Yoga for Labour & Birth is suitable for mothers at any stage of pregnancy who are ready to think about and prepare for labour and birth.

Monday Evenings : 5:15pm – 6:30pm

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Parenting the Newborn

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In the good old days (she reminisces, her voice cracking with age,) I used to teach a prenatal class series that went on for nine weeks! Sometime towards the turn of the millennium, folks just got too too busy to spend nine weeks coming to childbirth classes when they were expecting a baby. So we moved to a six-week series, which has become the standard all over North America.

But we had so much less time, so we had to drop some content, and one of the things we had to do was spend less time on The Newborn and Baby Care. And we always felt sad about that. Parents felt they needed more information and we felt that they could use the boost of confidence that comes from having taken a course and having had time to ask questions before they have to jump in to taking care of their very own baby.

So we designed a course specifically for parents-to-be to prepare for caring for their newborn baby. We called it Parenting the Newborn and we included in it the standard things: How to Bathe and Diaper and Swaddle and Soothe your baby. We also included a two-hour in-depth Breastfeeding Workshop and a two-hour Infant First Aid course. But we wanted the course to be about more than just the mechanics of baby care. We have also included opportunities for parents to examine their values where parenting their baby is concerned. We spend a lot of time discussing what babies’ needs are in the three months after birth. And we talk a lot about the importance of physical contact, cuddling and holding for babies. It’s a great course, designed and taught by childbirth and breastfeeding educators who are also trained postpartum doulas.

Parenting The Newborn is an excellent complement to our Childbirth Preparation Class. We encourage new parents to take it at any time after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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Knowing What’s Important

"I really want to thank you for teaching us about having a birth plan and being open and ready for change.  Our plan went from a natural water birth at home to finding out baby had flipped into a frank breach position at 38 weeks then going into labour on Christmas Eve and having to have an emergency C-section.  I guess we got all of our cards flipped except the most important one, Healthy Baby!" Having that plan and knowing what was most important really helped us get though all of the surprise twists and turns."

~ Rachael

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My First OFFICIAL Blog Post

Well, of course, I have been blogging for years: writing short essays for my website on topics that I hoped would be useful to my clients and my colleagues.  But now Mothering Touch has an actual Official Blog.  This is a little intimidating.  And yet, so much happens here every day of the week, I should never have trouble finding something to write about.

Right now, in the big activity room, Do Stier, a Doula Trainer for Vancouver, is running our annual DONA-International Post-Partum Doula Training.  Fifteen enthusiastic and caring women are learning how to help mothers and families in the Post-partum period (the first six weeks after birth).  Last week I ran a DONA-International Birth Doula Training and twelve new birth doulas have now joined our birthing community.  One of my trainees, came from as far away as Edmonton!

A couple of moms with their babies, on a stroll downtown, have popped in to nurse on the comfy brown couches in our smaller back room.  That back room – officially called the Resource Room (now "The Nest"!) – is one of my favourite things about this place.  We planned it as a room for breastfeeding consultations and private prenatal classes.  It houses our lending library which contains books and DVD’s on pregnancy, breastfeeding and early parenting.  The room also gets used for meetings of local community organization, like the Doulas of Victoria or Breastfeeding Matters.  And on most days, a few mothers and fathers and babies find their way there for a quiet time and a peaceful breastfeeding moment.

Tonight, when we’ve tidied up from the four-day doula training, there will be a prenatal yoga class in the Activity Room.  Elke will lead the lovely round-bellied moms through invigorating and then relaxing poses.  After that, I will teach the fourth class of six-week Childbirth Preparation Class for Doctors’ Patients.  Having spent the last three weeks learning about childbirth and natural self-help and coping measures for labour, tonight we will examine pain medications and other medical interventions.  I look forward to seeing this group of excited parents-to-be, whose questions and curiosity always make the evening lively.

I hope this this blog can become an extension of our store – a place where new and expectant parents can be sure of a friendly welcome and balanced information.  We hope you’ll visit us often.

– Eva