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Who Benefits From Prenatal Classes? As it Turns Out, Everyone Does.

Prenatal education is an important part of the pregnancy experience. Most first-time parents find the experience so valuable they attend refresher classes. In fact, the expectant mom sitting next to you in class just might be part of your health care team.

Nissa Gossom, RN, is a certified nurse midwife (CNM) with LVPG Obstetrics and Gynecology–Pond Road. She provides preventive and well care to women throughout the entire lifespan, as well as pregnancy care. Providing education and advice to expectant moms and their families is a big part of her day, and always includes the benefits of attending prenatal education classes on a positive birth experience.

“Labor is a marathon,” says Gossom. “Taking a class or having a tour will give you the information you need to feel safe so your body can relax and labor the way nature intended. Classes also prepare your support partner so they don’t feel so helpless.”

It’s advice she feels so strongly about, she’s taken it herself.

Gossom spent three years as a high-risk obstetrics nurse before becoming a midwife. She’s such a strong advocate for prenatal education, she attended classes when she was pregnant with her first child.

“Knowledge is power,” Gossom says. “Classes let you see, feel, touch and learn what may or may not happen during labor. Classes are so important my husband and I enrolled when we were expecting, and I’m a clinician.”

Here are Gossom’s top three recommendations for prenatal education classes:

Preparing for Labor and Childbirth

A certified childbirth educator will review what to expect during labor, relaxation and breathing techniques, pain management, stages of labor, your partner’s role during childbirth, and initial newborn care. You also will have an opportunity to tour the Family Birth and Newborn Center at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest or Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg. Class is offered in a series on various weeknights (6:30-9 p.m.) or choose one weekend session (Saturday or Sunday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.).

Baby Care

Are you expecting or planning to adopt and interested in learning tips about feeding, safety, newborn care and more? Then this class is for you. Our parent educator will lead this six-hour interactive, hands-on class that includes getting to know your newborn, diapering and learning to calm a crying baby. Class is offered in a series on various weeknights (6:30-9 p.m.) or choose one weekend session (Saturday or Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m.).

Breastfeeding Baby

An international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) will teach you the fundamentals, benefits and how-tos of breastfeeding, which is widely recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and others as the preferred method for feeding your newborn due to the nutritional benefits found in breast milk. One weeknight session (6:30 – 8:30 p.m.).

Classes are free

Prenatal classes at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) are free to patients – and their birth partners – who plan to deliver at one of our Family Birth and Newborn Centers in Allentown or Bethlehem. To register, visit LVHN.org/raisingafamily or call 888-402-LVHN.

Our health care team is dedicated to give you all the care your family needs between, before and after baby arrives. Visit LVHN.org/family to learn more about delivering your baby at one of our convenient Lehigh Valley locations.