Prenatal Classes at the Centre for Social Innovation, Toronto

If you are expecting a baby this spring and are looking for prenatal education that works for you, you’re in luck! I am offering a full series of Prenatal Classes at the Centre for Social Innovation (Annex) in February and March 2012. This is a five-week series, Wednesday evenings from 7:00-9:30 pm, beginning February 8th.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “why would I pay for prenatal classes when I can just attend the free ones at the hospital?” This is a great question and there are a number of excellent reasons.

1. While the information provided by public health prenatal classes is useful, these courses often omit a large quantity of information that is considered “alternative” or that is not routine at that particular hospital. For example, while my prenatal classes cover labour coping techniques ranging from massage and acupressure, to breathing and vocalizations,to hydrotherapy and heat, to epidurals and other forms of pain medications, a hospital class will generally only cover the epidural with any depth. Even if you plan to have an epidural, there are still many useful options available to you that won’t be explored in a standard hospital course. This is just an example of how hospitals tend to teach to the norm, rather than to what is possible. It’s understandable given the number of people they have to teach, but not exactly desirable if you want your birth experience to be as satisfying and positive as possible.

2. Public health courses tend to be two-day “crash courses”. This may seem ideal – get it all done with in one weekend! – but a course that is drawn out over a number of weeks will give you the chance to really get to know other couples in the class (start building up that new-parent social network now, before the baby arrives) and also opens up the possibilities for asking the questions that matter to you, even if they don’t occur to you until four days after class.

3. Many people report being frightened or discouraged by the content/approach of hospital prenatal classes. It is vital that you understand all of your options and what is happening to your/your partner’s body during labour and birth, but it is not helpful to hear horror stories or be inundated with negative information. My classes provide clear and detailed, evidence-based information while focusing on the positives – helping you to feel informed and fully prepared, but also excited and optimistic, not afraid.

4. I tailor my courses to the participants in them. Upon registration I’ll send you a questionnaire that asks you about your pregnancy, your current level of knowledge, your interests and your hopes for the course. That way I can focus on areas of particular interest and reduce coverage of topics that people already understand.

Prenatal education is the first step to an empowering birth experience. Feeling like an active, informed decision-maker prior to and during your labour and childbirth is the key to birth satisfaction. Knowledge is essential for confidence and self-advocacy.

I have space for five couples (singles are also welcome of course!). The cost for the entire series is $200.00 per couple. If you are interested in hiring a doula and would like to talk to me about the doula services I offer, I also provide package deals for doula clients who enrol in my prenatal classes.

Topics for the series include (but are not limited to):

-pain management and coping strategies for labour

-relationships and sexuality during pregnancy and in the postpartum period

-the physiology of labour and birth

-positioning for labour and birth

-breastfeeding

-newborn care

-nutrition and exercise

This course is ideal for people expecting to give birth between late March and June of 2012. Email me at heather@socialinnovation.ca to register or if you have any questions.

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Wait Just a Little Bit Longer…

I’m thinking this morning about cord clamping – specifically, when to do it. While a few Western individuals choose lotus birth (the practice of leaving the cord intact and wrapping the placenta up with the baby until it falls off naturally), in my experience most people don’t give much thought to when the cord will be cut. When I’ve mentioned the option of delayed cord clamping to clients, most of them shrug and say that they aren’t concerned about the ‘when’, and some even feel that timing is merely a question of ritual or cultural ceremony.  Usually, here in the west, the partner is given the opportunity to cut the cord and they do so whenever the midwife or doctor tells them to – most often about 30 seconds after birth. While it is true that practices surrounding cord cutting tend to be culturally differentiated, there is also good scientific evidence that supports the delaying of cord clamping until after it has finished pulsating.

First, a little science. As most people are aware, the baby receives oxygen and nutrients from the placenta through the umbilical cord while in utero. In addition, waste products from the baby are filtered back through the umbilical cord from the baby (most umbilical cords have two arteries and one vein). When babies are first born, they actually only have about two thirds of their total blood volume in their bodies. The other third is still within the placenta. You can actually see the cord pulsate as this blood flows from the placenta into the baby (approx. 70% of it in the first two minutes; pulsating usually ceases around 5 minutes, when all or most of the baby’s blood has flowed into his body). Some fluid does flow from the baby back to the placenta as well, but overall the net result it increased blood volume in the baby. This process is not disputed and is understood to be scientific fact. Continue reading