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Antenatal classes for healthy pregnancy and natural delivery

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Dr Nilofer Shaikh

The ultimate idea behind antenatal classes for a pregnant woman and her partner is to promote a quality lifestyle for both the mother and the baby, says Dr Nilofer Shaikh from Apollo Cradle, Pune.

Antenatal care or prenatal classes are the preparatory sessions which help expectant parents to get ready for impending labour and parenthood. Through these classes, young mothers and their partners can gain confidence to take care of the little one with limited assistance even in late pregnancy cases. The entire idea behind antenatal classes for pregnant woman and her partner is to promote a quality lifestyle for both the mother and the baby. It includes preventive measures to be taken by expecting mothers to treat and prevent health complications that arise during pregnancy.

Antenatal classes generally focus on:

• A detailed understanding of the family in terms of genetic diseases, medical history and details of previous pregnancy

• Complete understanding through lab tests such as blood, urine, HIV, hepatitis B, etc

• These classes counsel through multiple sessions, monitoring the well-being of the baby and the mother-to-be

With regular antenatal care sessions and latest monitoring facilities, doctors can identify the complication signs in the mother at an early stage which can be treated effectively

Giving birth is one of the most natural phenomena, but pregnant women have a lot of apprehensions about choosing normal birth as a preferred mode of delivery. Their fears come from the potential complications which could arise during the course of normal labour. According to the recent studies, around 30% of the pregnant woman in the metro cities prefer C-section in order to avoid the experience of excruciating labour pain associated with the normal delivery.

The established hospitals and doctors these days do everything possible to encourage normal delivery, so it is important for pregnant women to develop the right attitude towards labour and the mode of delivery. Medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, delayed pregnancy, a heavy baby etc could lead to a C-section. However, if a woman is in good health, she should not think before choosing a normal delivery since the benefits of natural delivery are profound for both, the mother and baby.

Antenatal classes are a great way to prepare for the baby’s arrival and to understand about a healthy pregnancy and parenthood. Along with introductory sessions on labour, birth and the required care in the initial years of the baby, these classes prepare the young mothers for normal delivery by educating them about its benefits.

Some of the steps antenatal classes take to encourage natural birth are:

Information providers:
Pregnant women through antenatal classes can get the best of information on the available modes of delivery. The emphasis is more on natural birth as it is proven to be the safest way than a C-section, the latter could increase the risk of bladder injuries, bowel injury and certain serious complications for the next pregnancy as well.

• Choosing a doctor:
Antenatal classes will help you identify the right gynaecologist as per your requirements as you make a clear decision about the mode of childbirth.

Moral Support:
During pregnancy, you need an important person who will stay with you throughout the process. Antenatal classes will help you identify one such person, perhaps a good gynaecologist, who will provide personal attention throughout pregnancy and provides the mother-to-be with regular counselling and is available to address all your concerns, fears and apprehensions. A person who will render physical and moral support throughout the pregnancy.

Build confidence:
A woman’s body is designed to deliver naturally. However, an expectant mother is a storehouse of fears and doubts. With the right kind of support, women can not only be assured of a worry-free pregnancy but also empower themselves with information on birth so that they can choose what is best for them. Antenatal classes are an effective solution to address the fears and concerns of parents-to-be and help boost confidence in the new mothers regarding healthy pregnancy and normal birth. It also strengthens their will power through counselling.

(Dr Nilofer comes with 17 years of experience in the field, and has completed MBBS from Shivaji University Kolhapur in 1993 and MD – Obstetrics & Gynaecology from Shivaji University Kolhapur in 2002)

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