In order to drive a car legally, you are required to take a written exam and driving test to prove you know the rules, and can safely handle a motor vehicle on our highways and byways.

In order to drive a car legally, you are required to take a written exam and driving test to prove you know the rules, and can safely handle a motor vehicle on our highways and byways.

But when it comes to having a child, many couples don’t think twice about raising a child and head into the experience on a wing and a prayer. And, unlike many of the today’s intuitive electronic and computing devices, babies still don’t come with a personalized instruction manual.

This is where professionals like me come in.  

As an inaugural staff member of the Birthing Center at St. Mary’s, I was fortunate to spend 21 years as a labor and delivery nurse before taking an opportunity to work for the US Air Force in Europe. In my three years with the Air Force, our efforts in educating expectant couples about parenting techniques as well as labor and pre-labor considerations showed a reduction in incidents of child abuse and neglect. Couples understood why their baby cried a lot and learned techniques for coping with a variety of issues that invariably come with raising a child. Postponing my retirement, I returned to St. Mary’s when a part-time position opened in early childhood education. It’s simply that important to me.

Why should expecting couples consider childbirth education?

Childbirth education classes benefit many couples in the opportunity to interact with other expectant couples and explore their feelings about labor. Childbirth education classes benefit new fathers as they learn how to become involved with and help with their partner’s labor. It gives eager parents more confidence and control as they learn the various stages of labor and what to expect, as well as relaxing and coping techniques. Couples learn the ins and outs and benefits of lactation and breastfeeding.

Perhaps most importantly, childbirth education classes enable couples to make important decisions and declare preferences about their child through knowledge-based consent.

Expectant mothers have a 40-week timeline from learning they are pregnant. There is so much to learn in a short time, and today’s moms need to be very involved in motherhood, and many want to be well informed for the best possible outcome.

That is our goal, and to that end we have developed childbirth education classes that are as fun as they are engaging.

The Gift of Motherhood is a series of six classes in two modules, beginning in January 2012.

The Pregnant Series features:

Positively Pregnant – Up to 18 to 20 weeks The Whole Body Experience – 20 to 35 weeks Birth Preparation: Reducing Fear When Labor is Near – 36 to 40 weeks

The Newborn Series features:

Newborn Care – Bringing Baby Home Newborn Care – A Baby in the House Breastfeeding – Getting the Right Stuff

From prenatal nutrition and fetal development to breastfeeding, CPR and safety, we want you as prepared and confident as possible as you plan to welcome your bundle of joy.

St. Mary’s Birthing Center Childbirth Classes form in January.

To register online, visit stmaryskc.com or contact the Birthing Center at 816-228-3355.