Those early days of pregnancy when you are overjoyed at the news, knowledge hungry and very enthusiastic seem like the ideal time to take birthing classes. Except it isn't.
Sadly pregnancy loss is more common in the first trimester and taking a class too early may mean you will have to drop out in case of miscarriage. For this reason most child birth classes will recommend the second trimester when the chance of loss drops considerably. You will also find that specialised pregnancy exercise classes won't allow participation until second trimester as well. On the flip side you are encouraged to maintain previous exercise programs for as long as you feel comfortable doing so.
Use this special time in your pregnancy to research, learn about HypnoBirthing®, water births, c-sections, epidurals, delayed clamping - all the things. Do your own research - look for the actual research papers or try to a balanced source if you can't handle the wordy reserach documents. Form opinions on what you think will be the right birth for you. Then you will be on the front foot with your whole experience.
Which begs the question is the second trimester the BEST time to do a childbirth class? For the most part I think the answer is yes. The information you learn during this period may lead you down a different birthing path, and then you need time to explore that. The HypnoBirthing® classes I teach require a lot of at home practice and the more practice you do the better your birthing experience will be.
I'd recommend the second trimester for your external birth classes. Something that you feel is worth exploring but is not offered by your care provider. This will give you all the information you need to ask the right questions and requests with your care provider.
That leaves that long, long third trimester (did you know it's actually the shortest trimester?). What are you going to fill your days with leading up your birth? This is the time for your hospital / birth centre class. My personal experience with the birth centre I attended that it went over the physiological birth experience and discussed the intervention options for pain management. I'm glad they did and I'm glad I went because with ALL the research I did it was the first I heard about sterile water injections. These were quite helpful in my birth which was referenced in a previous blog 'Is HypnoBirthing® pain free?'.
The other great thing about hospital / birth centre classes is it gives you time to familiarise yourself with your place of birth. Take the time to introduce baby to the space and do things that make yourself feel at ease there. Like finding the best place to park, walking the same corridor to the area you will be delivering in. This will all help the big day go smoother.
And never stop learning. If I hadn't picked up the book gifted to me by my sister-in-law in the last days of pregnancy I would not have learned all the techniques that helped me labouring at home and on the way to the hospital. The book was Juju Sundin's Birth Skills and I highly recommend it.