our first child can be overwhelming. There are so many unknowns. While expectant parents spend hours thinking about names and working on the nursery, many don't put in that time when it comes to educating themselves. One Ob/Gyn estimates only 20 percent of his patients take a prepared childbirth class. In July's Health Check report -- why it's time well spent.
Three-week-old Mark is everything to his mom, Lisa Niedzwiecki, but Lisa knew overwhelming love wouldn't be enough to take care of her first baby, so she and her husband took prepared childbirth classes.
"There were days I didn't want to go," she said. "But I'm really glad now that I did."
The series of hands-on classes helped Lisa feel more confident. She could practice something like swaddling until she excelled at it.
Lisa says, "I didn't even understand. I just thought, 'oh, they want to be wrapped up,' so I probably would have just put them in one but knowing how to do it so he doesn't get his arms out made a huge difference 'cause when he's fussy and you swaddle, he stops."
Dr. Sami Zienedine believes in that empowerment. The Alegent Health Ob/Gyn knows each delivery is as different as a baby's face but when parents are educated about things like stages of labor, epidurals and forceps, they become better teammates.
"It won't be the first time they hear about it," Dr. Zienedine said. "That sudden shock is not good and it's not the best time for them to be hearing new words or about new procedures when they're in a vulnerable situation."
It made a difference, not only for Lisa, but for her husband.
Lisa told us, "My husband had never been around little, little babies so that made a big difference for him because he wasn't so nervous to hold him and he jumped right in and changed diapers and he knew what to expect too."
When questions pop up now, Lisa refers back to a book from class. And as Mark gains weight and grows, it reassures his parents they're all on the right track.
Alegent Health offers a series of prepared childbirth classes at different locations. Refresher courses are also available.