Living Well: 1, 2, 3 Delivery! — MRH offers new What to Expect series
There are plenty of books and websites about how to prepare for childbirth and delivery, but nothing can replace sitting down and talking with an expert or being in a group of other expectant parents asking questions. That's why medical providers at MRH are offering ongoing, no-cost classes for expectant moms and dads/partners to attend.
The past What to Expect classes were held quarterly on a Saturday and covered everything from morning sickness to breastfeeding. The new series breaks out classes by trimester, covering all three trimesters and postpartum care each month. The classes are offered once each week, on Wednesdays. The first Wednesday of each month covers first trimester topics, the second Wednesday covers second trimester topics, and the third Wednesday covers third trimester topics. The final Wednesday is for moms' post-delivery. If you are expecting, it's easy as 1, 2, 3 to remember which class to attend!
"Those who come say they love that they can ask any question that's on their minds. We have lively discussions on topics driven by those who attend," said Liz Kilmer-Sterling, RN, MSN, CNM, certified nurse midwife with Memorial Regional Health.
Another benefit of attending a childbirth preparation class is that you meet people who are in the exact place you are in your pregnancy. Sometimes, you form lifelong bonds.
"It takes a village to get through pregnancy. Making connections with other parents-to-be is especially important for young families who don't have other family nearby," Kilmer-Sterling added.
The class is led by Kilmer-Sterling and labor and delivery nurses. The third trimester class proves to be the most popular, partly because it offers a tour of the birthing center, but also because the end is drawing near, and moms want to make sure they understand what will happen during labor and delivery and also have established pain management techniques.
Preparing for childbirth
According to Kilmer-Sterling, one of the best ways to prepare for childbirth is to learn everything you can about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. That way, you can limit the surprises, and if you are surprised, you'll know what to expect.
"When you have the information you need, you can make good decisions for you and your baby. Remember, no question is silly," she said.
Next, she advises learning about different pain management techniques often used during labor and delivery and what might work best for you. For example, maybe you are soothed by warm water, so taking a bath or shower during labor would help. Or, maybe you are calmed by rhythmic breathing or imagery and visualization. Maybe you would like someone to rub your back or give certain words of encouragement.
"Identify how you best cope with stress and pain, and then practice those things before labor and delivery, so they'll be easy to use when the day comes," Kilmer-Sterling said.
Lastly, if you plan to breast feed, Kilmer-Sterling advises that you consult with someone about technique before delivering. That way, you'll understand about proper latch on and milk supply, making it easier to manage.
"Breastfeeding may look easy and like it comes naturally, but it can be something women struggle with," she added.
If you don't have a nursery or a new crib, consider signing up for a free Baby Box — a safe sleep space for infants up to six months — made possible by the Rocky Mountain Children's Health Foundation. The Baby Box is portable, contains a firm, yet comfortable mattress, and boasts Colorado-themed designs. The Women's Health & OB/GYN office at MRH has plenty to hand out to new moms once they sign up online and complete a short education program on safe sleep habits.
"Our moms who have recently delivered love their Baby Boxes, because they are easy to move around the house, easy to set up, and they feel reassured that they have a safe space for their baby to sleep," Kilmer-Sterling said.
Free Baby Boxes for safe sleeping
If you are expecting and want a safe sleep space for your newborn, look no further. MRH has partnered with RM Children's Health Foundation to provide Best Start Baby Boxes to expectant parents. Reserve your baby box at babyboxuniversity.com/register, and present your code at the OB/GYN office at Memorial Regional Health, 750 Hospital Loop, Craig to pick up your box.
What to Expect Classes
Expecting your first? New to the area? Attend a What to Expect class during each trimester and after delivery. Classes are ongoing, so each month, you'll find a class that speaks to your stage of pregnancy. Specific topics are covered, followed by open discussion. Birthing Center tour included with third semester class. The class is led by a nurse midwife and labor and delivery nurses. Partners are welcome, and snacks will be provided. RSVPs are preferred at 970-826-8230, but walk-ins are welcome. The class if free of charge.
What: What to Expect class
When: 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays
More information: 970-826-8230