First-time mothers-to-be have lots of questions and even some worries: How will I know I'm in labor? Will my baby know how to breast-feed? How do I care for a newborn? And many experienced mothers have similar — and additional — concerns.
Allegheny Health Network has classes to prepare you for childbirth, breastfeeding, infant care and parenting at four locations: West Penn Hospital, Forbes Hospital, Saint Vincent Hospital and Jefferson Hospital. These classes are great confidence builders and will help lessen any anxiety you may be feeling as your baby’s birth approaches.
Our programs are designed to prepare you physically and mentally for childbirth and parenting and to acquaint you with our staff and facilities. Classes are taught by certified childbirth educators and registered nurses experienced in the field of obstetrics and infant care.
Learn more about the classes offered throughout Allegheny Health Network:
Note: Not all classes will be offered at each location.
Baby 911; Infant/Child CPR and Safety
Designed for parents and caregivers to develop skills in infant/child CPR, this 3-hour class also focuses on valuable safety considerations, "baby proofing" your home, SIDS and car safety.
Babysitting Basics is an American Red Cross course taught by certified RNs for teens ages 11-13. In this interactive course, participants learn basic child care, how to handle emergencies, choking rescue techniques and business basics. One 6-hour course is offered 4 times a year. A one-hour break will be allotted for lunch (meal not included).
Most women attend the class with the person who will provide support during labor, such as a spouse, sister or good friend. This person is sometimes called the labor coach. During class, the instructor will go over the signs of labor and review the stages of labor. She will talk about positioning for labor and birth and ways to control pain. She also will give you strategies to work through labor pains and to help you stay relaxed and in control. You will practice many of these strategies in class, so you are ready when the big day arrives. Many classes also provide a tour of the birthing facility.
Childbirth Preparation and Birthing/Labor Skills
This is a four-part class, 2 1/2 hours per week, designed to prepare couples for what to expect throughout labor, birth and beyond. Certified childbirth educators teach a variety of comfort strategies, such as relaxation and breathing techniques, to help you through your birth journey. Hospital interventions, medication options and post-partum adjustments are included.
You will also participate in a labor skills lab and hospital tour.
Fee: $100 per couple
For couples who face scheduling challenges in the evening, this intensive full-day class (8 hours) prepares expectant couples for what to expect through labor, birth and beyond. Certified childbirth educators teach a variety of comfort strategies, such as relaxation and breathing techniques, to help you through your birth journey. Hospital interventions, medication options and post-partum adjustments are included.
You will also participate in a labor skills lab and hospital tour.
Fee: $100 per couple
Choosing a Vaginal Birth After a Cesarean Section (VBAC)
If you had a previous cesarean birth and now are thinking about giving birth through a vaginal delivery, this 2 1/2 hour course walks you through the many factors you might consider. This class will address these factors, explain options and answer any questions/concerns you may have.
Dogs and Storks
An international program that helps expecting families with dogs get ready for life with baby, Dogs & Storks® offers positive, practical and fun solutions to challenges that often arise when a family with a dog adds a new baby to the household. Preparation makes all the difference in the world when it comes to safety and harmony between a new baby and family dog. Topics covered during this 2-hour class include your pregnancy and your dog, concerns about jealousy and acceptance of the baby, setting up your home environment for safety, introducing your dog to your baby, the subtle body language of dogs, and fun ways to include your dog in daily activities from the start.
Dogs & Toddlers™
Dogs & Toddlers™ is the ideal program for families with dogs and babies who are soon to be crawling or walking. Often the first 3 months have gone smoothly and many families are caught off guard when their dog begins to show discomfort with the new developmental changes of their mobile baby. This program offers insight and proactive options for some of the common challenges families with dogs experience as baby becomes mobile.
To help you feel comfortable with your upcoming birth, we recommend taking a tour of the Obstetrics Unit where you will be delivering your baby. If you are attending Childbirth Comprehensive (four-week session or one-day option) or Sibling Preparation, a tour IS included as part of the class. If you do not plan to attend any of these classes, please call 412.578.7030 to register for a tour.
I'm a Big Brother/Big Sister
For families with an older child, bringing home a new baby can be a time filled with joy and adjustment. This 1 1/2 hour class is designed to address common emotions siblings may experience when a new baby arrives. With a focus on safety, siblings-to-be are provided "hands on" opportunities (with dolls) to hold and rock a baby, and even change a diaper! A hospital tour is included during this class.
Infant/Child CPR and Safety
There are some skills that no parent — or caregiver — should be without. Taking Infant/Child CPR and Safety will equip you with critical skills for your peace of mind and confidence as a caregiver. Emergency care of a choking infant or child, infant/child CPR techniques and infant/child safety are covered. CPR techniques are demonstrated and practiced. Car seat safety is also reviewed. One 3-hour session is offered several times monthly.
During this 3 hour course, expectant parents are instructed in the care of a newborn infant with a hands-on skills lab (using dolls) to practice before their baby arrives. During this confidence building course, topics covered include bathing, swaddling/soothing, diapering, taking the baby's temperature, and signs of illness.
During this 2 1/2 hour session, attendees will learn what to expect during the labor and birth process: how to tell true labor from ‘false’ labor; when to come to the hospital; the different types of anesthesia and procedures used during the birthing process; how they work, and their risks and benefits. Attendees will also learn about the ‘equipment’ in the birthing suite, how the baby will look and routine nursery procedures. The best time to attend this class is during the second trimester of pregnancy.
Getting Ready for Breast-feeding
Breast milk is the best milk for your baby! To help you get off to the best possible start, this three-hour interactive class is offered for expectant parents. A board-certified lactation consultant will answer your questions, provide practical, evidence-based information, and dispel myths regarding breast-feeding. Topics include the benefits of breast milk, establishing a milk supply, positioning the baby, proper latch-on, preventing problems and returning to work. Expectant fathers are welcome. Bra fittings are available during this class.
This 3 hour course is $40.
Fee: $40 per 4 class session
To register for a class at:
- Forbes Hospital, call 412.330.4469
- Jefferson Hospital Bethel Park Campus, call 412.469.7100
- Saint Vincent, call 814.452.5255
- West Penn Hospital or Wexford, call 412.578.7030
Find out more about this specialty at a location near you.
Explore other publications and websites
- Birthing Centers and Hospital Maternity Services (Copyright © Nemours Foundation) - This online publication explains the types of services offered by birthing centers and hospital maternity centers, and provides a list of questions to ask and other considerations to help parents make an informed decision.
- Birthing Choices: Health Care Providers & Birth Locations (Copyright © American Pregnancy Association) - This online publication explains the different birthing options for women. It gives the definitions and a short history of each option.
- Birthing Classes (Copyright © Nemours Foundation) - This article discusses the benefits of taking childbirth classes. It provides information on the types of classes that are available and how to find and choose a birthing method that is right for you and your baby.
- Childbirth Education Classes (Copyright © March of Dimes) - This article can help expectant parents choose a childbirth class to prepare for labor and birth. An overview of the Lamaze and Bradley methods are provided, as well as a list of questions expectant parents can use to help select a class that appeals to them.
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