Discovering you are unexpectedly
pregnant can be a shock, even if you had planned for children in the future.
You may find yourself feeling adrift and with nowhere to turn for support. From
offering no-cost, self-administered pregnancy tests to parenting classes, Avail
NYC is here to help you make informed decisions about your options along every
step of the way.
One of the many ways Avail offers
support is through its parenting-education program that offers free pregnancy
classes. These classes seek to provide you with the information and
resources to better understand your various body changes that occur during
pregnancy, your baby’s development through each trimester, and even how to care
for your newborn once you take them home from the hospital.
Here are five ways a pregnancy
class can provide practical help from the very first meeting:
1. Improved Confidence
You may find yourself leaving your
first pregnancy class with even more questions than you had when you arrived.
Fortunately, this is a good outcome: knowing what you don’t know can
spur you to find answers rather than assuming you are on the right path. Asking
questions and delving into additional research on your own can allow you to
gain greater confidence in your ability to make the best parenting decisions
for your child.
An unexpected way a pregnancy class
improves your confidence is through developing connections with other moms who
you can share ideas with during your pregnancy and parenting.
2. Head Start on A Birth Plan
A birth plan is written
explains your wishes to your care team during childbirth. One page in length is
best. Birth plans are helpful to avoid misunderstandings during labor and
delivery and can be as varied as the women who use them. Deciding what is
important to you when you bring your child into the world can help you develop
a comprehensive birth plan to provide to your obstetrician (OB/GYN) and other
medical providers well before you go into labor.
personnel can indeed receive birth plans negatively, but this usually happens
when parents are demanding. So keep it positive and see your medical team as
partners. One way to do that is to design a positive birth plan. Make a list of
what you do want rather than what you
don’t want. When you incorporate phrases
like “we hope to” or “we anticipate” rather than “we don’t want,” it helps
sets up a cooperative team atmosphere.
Things typically included in a
Include your name, your doctor, or midwife’s name, hospital name, and who you want with you during labor and delivery.
Everyone has a differing idea of what is a comfortable environment. Think about what would be a soothing environment for you during labor and delivery. Do you like music and people talking around you, or do you prefer it quiet? Would you prefer the lights dim? Do you want photographs taken?
Think ahead about pain management. Do you prefer to have an epidural as soon as possible? Or do you prefer to manage pain with other techniques such as breathing and massage? Do you want your birth team to encourage you to avoid an epidural or encourage it if you ask for it during labor?
Do you want your doctor to avoid an episiotomy for a vaginal birth? Do you want a water birth? Would you prefer to be in a particular position for birth? Do you have a preference for if the room is quiet or dim? Do you want to see your baby’s birth, or have your baby handed to you immediately? Would you like your partner to cut the cord, and do you plan to save cord blood?
While it isn’t necessary for you to
have your birth plan outlined and finalized after your first pregnancy class,
it can give you a head start when it comes to thinking about your options and
what you would like your child’s birth to include. You will also be able to get
more nuanced information and first-hand testimonials on some of the procedures
or processes you are considering.
3. Nutrition and Exercise Education
Even if your pre-pregnancy eating
and exercise habits were not always the healthiest, pregnancy could provide the
perfect time to create some good habits. Avail’s parenting-education program
and curriculum will inform you on what types of food you should and shouldn’t
be eating, and what kinds of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fats you’ll want
to consume to keep you healthy and active in this season.
4. Understanding Pregnancy
Avail’s pregnancy classes led by
volunteer registered nurses help you understand changes that happen in your baby
and your body,
particularly during your last trimester of pregnancy.
Your baby’s last trimester:
- Baby continues to grow in length and weight
- The lungs mature
- Moves to head-down position
- Baby is about 6-9 pounds and 19-21 inches long
- Rapid brain development
- Head may “drop” into the pelvic area
- Baby cries and sucks thumb in the womb
Your last trimester:
- You may urinate more often
- Your ankles, hands, and face may swell from retained fluids
- You may notice more body hair
- Increased Braxton-Hicks contractions
- Stretch marks on stomach, breasts, thighs, and buttocks
- Increased constipation and heartburn
- Varicose veins
5. Labor and delivery
Our pregnancy classes also help you
prepare for labor and delivery. As these classes are instructed by registered
nurses volunteering to give helpful advice, you will learn breathing techniques
to enhance your childbirth experience. Breathing techniques can improve
relaxation and decrease the perception of pain.
are also comfort strategies to help reduce your pain level and enhance your
childbirth experience. We will also discuss various comfort strategies that you
can incorporate into your labor time, such as massage, massage oils, changing
positions, moving, dancing slowly, birthing ball, counter-pressure, and
We Are Here for You
If you’re pregnant and need support, don’t hesitate to contact Avail NYC. Our compassionate client advocates can provide free, confidential support or connect you with resources to help you in all aspects of your pregnancy.
NYC exists to be a safe haven for women and men facing an unexpected pregnancy
or seeking support after an abortion. We are not a medical provider.