AN­TE­NA­TAL CHOICES

Your Pregnancy - - Q & A Month 5 -

Q:Firstly, I’d like to con­grat­u­late you on a won­der­ful magazine! YP helped when we needed ad­vice on fall­ing preg­nant and now at 23 weeks it’s still a great help. In the Preg­nancy and Birth Book by Tina Otte, she lists var­i­ous things you should con­sider when de­cid­ing on a spe­cific an­te­na­tal class. I’m cur­rently un­de­cided on two classes. The contents of both are very sim­i­lar, but the one of­fers phys­i­cal ex­er­cise us­ing a birth ball and aqua aer­o­bics. The other one of­fers no phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties. How im­por­tant is the phys­i­cal ex­er­cise as­pect? Do you have any sug­ges­tions as to the better choice? I know that it should be a per­sonal de­ci­sion, but I want to have an idea of what should be cov­ered in an an­te­na­tal class.

A:Tina an­swers: I be­lieve that phys­i­cal ex­er­cise is one of the best things you can do to pre­pare your body for the chal­lenge of labour. There are many rea­sons why ex­er­cis­ing is good for you as long as you are hav­ing an un­com­pli­cated preg­nancy. I’m also aware that there aren’t many places that of­fer both phys­i­cal ex­er­cise as well as child­birth ed­u­ca­tion. You should be work­ing out at least three times a week, over and above your child­birth lec­tures. Not all mid­wives are trained in giv­ing ap­pro­pri­ate ex­er­cise, so per­haps you can seek out a qual­i­fied in­struc­tor in order to get fit and join a class that you feel is the right one for you. Small classes can be very in­ti­mate and cou­ples get to know one an­other re­ally well, yet large classes (15 cou­ples or more) can be extremely dy­namic with a lot of in­ter­ac­tion as dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ties share their hu­mour, ex­pe­ri­ence and wis­dom. Child­birth classes should cover all as­pects of child­birth: from vagi­nal de­liv­er­ing; to pain re­lief; high-tech births and de­vi­a­tions from the norm. Early par­ent­ing is­sues are usu­ally in­cluded (jaundice, cir­cum­ci­sion, bathing baby, cord care, fever, safety and most im­por­tant – breast­feed­ing and cry­ing). Some ed­u­ca­tors run a sep­a­rate breast­feed­ing course, which I en­cour­age you to con­sider. Ed­u­ca­tors should give you in­for­ma­tion based on the best avail­able ev­i­dence, so that you can make up your own mind on what is right for you. This can only be done once you have all the facts at your fin­ger­tips.

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