A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic Health System

Preparing for your baby: Childbirth education classes

When preparing for a newborn, knowing some of the essentials like swaddling, bathing, diapering, along with breastfeeding techniques and labor and delivery information can be important to your pregnancy journey.

Photo of a pregnant women at a childbirth class

Prepare for your new bundle of joy with our childbirth classes.

Marshfield Clinic Health System offers breastfeeding and childbirth education classes at Beaver Dam, Eau Claire, Marshfield, Minocqua, Rice Lake and Weston hospitals.

“Prep classes allow new and expectant parents to gain the information and knowledge they need in order to make informed decisions on the care they receive during their birthing journey,” said Robin Dietel, certified registered nurse in obstetrics, Lamaze certified childbirth educator and lactation consultant (IBCLC) at Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield. “The classes provide a variety of information on normal and potential problems that would or could occur during late pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum and breastfeeding.”

Childbirth education classes

Childbirth classes at the Health System provide education on the birthing process based on the Lamaze theory. This theory encourages you to make informed choices for a positive birth experience. It provides childbirth practice with positioning, breathing and relaxation techniques, along with a tour of the hospital’s birth center.

“Each hospital will have different teaching methods and overview. However, the education as a whole will be similar in content,” Dietel said. “These classes have been found to be comforting to expectant parents.”

Topics in the class can include:

  • Pregnancy anatomy and common discomforts.
  • The labor process.
  • Birth, including vaginal, C-section and interventions that may occur.
  • Birth center tour.
  • Natural coping and medical pain relief options.
  • Labor support
  • Immediate care of the newborn.
  • Postpartum care.

Most classes also provide handout materials for you to take home for further review.

Prenatal breastfeeding class

In this class, you will gain knowledge and learn how breastfeeding works. Your support person is encouraged to attend. Class topics include:

  • The benefits of breastfeeding and how to make breastfeeding a part of your lifestyle.
  • Breast anatomy and how the breast makes milk.
  • Knowing when to feed your baby.
  • Latching on and positioning.
  • How to know your baby is getting enough milk.
  • How to care for your breasts.
  • Breast milk expression and returning to work.

“The breastfeeding classes are taught by an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and covers the benefits of breastfeeding and early skin-to-skin contact,” said Kelly Boelter, Obstetrics supervisor with Marshfield Medical Center-Beaver Dam. “Following the classes, new parents will recognize familiar faces when they are at the Beaver Dam hospital for their birth as the instructors for preparing for childbirth and breastfeeding classes also are staff members of the labor and delivery unit.”

Newborn care class

Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield offers a newborn class called “Baby Basics.” Topics include:

  • Newborn characteristics.
  • Hospital routines.
  • Calming a fussy baby.
  • Signs of illness.
  • Hands-on demonstrations for diapering, bathing, swaddling and car seat installation.

“A newborn care class is a great way to feel more prepared for life with a newborn,” Dietel said. “We go over the basics with video and PowerPoint slides, but also take it one step further by adding a lot of hands-on demonstrations. Whether you’re a visual learner or need written materials to refer back to, these classes are tailored to all learning styles.”

Online options available

With your busy schedule as an expectant mom, you may not have time to join an in-person class. Many locations also offers InJoy online class options or other virtual classes. Topics include:

  • Understanding birth.
  • Understanding pregnancy.
  • Understanding breastfeeding.
  • Understanding your newborn.
  • Understanding mother and baby care.

Talk to your women’s health provider about your options of interest to see if your hospital has those available.

Find a class near you


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