The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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We can’t Google our way through childbirth (yet), but we can study it online. Childbirth education covers anatomy, the birth process and pain management, and many people consider traditional classes, taken with other couples, a valuable pregnancy ritual. Others find them inconvenient and intimidating, preferring online courses. Here’s a snapshot:
Women who are on bed rest, have limited transportation or want more variety or privacy can take online classes anytime and anywhere they have Internet access. Many classes are free or inexpensive ($35-$50 per series) and some are covered by insurance.
Childbirth educator Lesly Federici, R.N., who offers free online labor classes at smartbirth.ning.com (with a personalized upgrade option), thinks Internet-based courses offer more varied, comprehensive and unbiased information than hospital-based ones. “Many hospital-based classes spend too much time covering medical interventions,” Federici says. “Online classes allow couples to explore many options, save time and money and customize their own education and philosophy.”
Online classes can’t provide the social contact and personalized coaching that traditional classroom/teacher settings offer.
“Couples ask questions and share stories that let teachers gauge their understanding, translate medical language and tailor instruction,” says Kristen Olberz, R.N., a Portland, Ore., obstetric nurse and HypnoBirthing instructor. “For example, one woman’s doctor said he’d check her cervix digitally. If she hadn’t asked about that in class, other students wouldn’t realize ‘digitally’ means ‘with fingers.’ ”
Have more questions? Ask our Labor Nurse anything!