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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Prenatal Class Part I

This past Sunday, DH and I attended our first prenatal class. We chose the intensive course split into 2 full days instead of 6-7 separate evenings as this is much easier on both our schedules! And yes, after hesitating about these classes for months and finally decided to do them, I was actually very happy with what we have learned so far!

When it comes to taking care of baby we are both pretty comfortable, and I was worried that the class would focus on this more than anything else. It will for a bit next week, but in the first session spent the whole day covering changes in the body towards the end of pregnancy, stages of labor, pain management options, and the actual delivery too. For someone who has become very clinical in her thinking over the years, I was in heaven! It was also reassuring to know that a couple of things I intended to include in my “birth plan” were actually considered standard practice now… so I am not a hippie, as some have said, after all!

What am I referring to exactly?

For one, we decided long ago that we would donate the cord blood for stem cell use/research since we do not need it for ourselves and it is just considered as waste otherwise. But, before doing this to (hopefully) help others, I wanted to delay cord clamping for the benefit of our own child even if it meant sending less to the bank. Why delay? Basically, when the baby is born about 1/3 of their blood or more is still flowing through the umbilical cord and placenta, their life source. Rather than clamping the cord for daddy to cut immediately and sending all of baby’s blood to the cord blood bank, I wanted to wait the recommended 4-10 minutes first to allow time for the blood to re-enter baby. There are many immediate benefits to doing this, and now research is showing long term effects as well (you can Google), so I was happy to hear that it will be done automatically whether or not we were donating. In fact, they push the blood back into baby from the umbilical cord themselves to speed up the process too! As the instructor said, the baby who is here NOW takes precedence over possible future use.

Also, as you have probably seen in the oh-so-true-to-life movies and on TV, they would take baby away right after the cord was cut to clean them off, do some diagnostic testing (Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, Respiration – or APGAR tests) and wrap them up like a little burrito before bringing them back to mom all perfect looking. They still do this, if that is what you want, but I am a strong believer of skin-to-skin bonding immediately after baby is born because of… you guessed it, benefits! And, it seems the hospital prefers this method too! Yes, I admit that it is kind of gross considering baby is covered in… well… everything, but that’s what showers are for! And, skin-to-skin is so important to me that in the event I cannot do this myself for any reason I have asked DH do it immediately after birth instead. He was amused that his sneezing within arm’s length of me grosses me out, but all kinds of bodily afterbirth fluids I am not only OK with but would ask him to be ok with too! Hey, it’s different when it’s your own child!

Those were just a couple of things that were very reassuring to me, but overall the whole class was very informative and helpful in many ways! Some of the questions that others asked were a little shocking to me (like, can a baby be born before term… um… yes!) but generally speaking everyone was on the same page.

Part II next Sunday!