Why You Should Take an Early Pregnancy Class

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Early pregnancy classes may sound like a waste of time, but the truth is, taking a class early on in your pregnancy, or even before pregnancy can be of great benefit. Here are some reasons why you should take an early pregnancy class:

Get Connected Before Your First Prenatal Appointment

Many times you won’t have your first prenatal appointment until your first trimester is nearly over. This can leave you in the dark about many very important topics that need to be addressed earlier in pregnancy rather than later. Early pregnancy classes are a great starting point.

Learn About Early Pregnancy

Learning about how your baby is developing can make your pregnancy more real and exciting than ever. Sure, you probably understand the basics, but there is something about hearing the information in a class that really helps to solidify it in your mind. It’s also a great way to involve your partner in the process early on as well. This is great when neither of you may be feeling like anything is particularly different. There is also a time to ask questions that might seem like something you wouldn’t want to ask your doctor or midwife (but totally could), like, is it okay to have sex in pregnancy?

Understand How to Stay Safe in Pregnancy

These early pregnancy classes are wonderful for laying down a great foundation of what you need to know to be safe in pregnancy. Not only will you cover things like: Take a prenatal vitamin. You will most likely also talk about simple things you need to know in order to have a healthy pregnancy, including when to call your midwife or doctor. This also translates into a greater opportunity to hear about how to prevent preterm labor.

Meet Other Expectant Moms and Dads

I truly think that the social value of all childbirth and pregnancy classes is undervalued. The community that we have around being a parent is an amazing one. By the time you’ve reached the end of pregnancy, you’re likely to be less tolerant and social because you’re on a mission to learn about birth and you’re nearing the end of your pregnancy, so physical comfort may take its toll. But finding others early on is a great way to share that experience with other people. It’s also great to have some other women to call on when your partner is so tired of hearing about every pregnancy detail.

Nutrition Standards in Pregnancy Are Discussed

I’d be totally remiss if I failed to mention that this is a great place to learn about nutrition and exercise specifically as it applies to pregnancy. You’ve still got plenty of time to implement changes that will have a lasting effect on you and your baby. It’s also a way to ensure that you’re getting accurate information as opposed to some of the strange information that you might find elsewhere.

These classes are quick, usually lasting only for one evening or an afternoon. They may also fill up quickly, so be sure that you sign up as soon as you know you’re pregnant, if not before.

You can find early pregnancy classes in a variety of locations. Sometimes local hospitals or birth centers will offer an early pregnancy class, usually, one designed to be taken before the end of your first trimester or potentially as you start trying to conceive. You can also find independent childbirth educators who offer early pregnancy classes, like a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator or an ICEA Certified Childbirth Educator. (Just click on the various childbirth education agencies links to find a list of instructors in your area.)

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.