A busy schedule won’t stand in the way of moms- and dads-in-training wanting to learn.

Online maternity classes for parents-to-be

When a couple learns they’re expecting, it’s common to feel joy, excitement and anticipation. Often, however, feelings of anxiety may emerge:

"What are the next steps?"

"How do I get ready for my baby?"

"What is going to happen to my wife’s body?"

Brad Raybourn wondered about these things when his wife, Cari, was pregnant. Despite a busy schedule, he attended maternity classes at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital.

"I got so much out of it!," Brad says. "It made me understand how involved I could be and really prepared me to be there for my wife and baby. The whole experience was phenomenal."

Cari felt the same way:

"I really wanted to take the class because it's all about giving us the tools we need for our child’s birth," she says. "I knew I’d learn a lot from the class, but I had no idea how much. It really opened our eyes to the choices we had and the different strategies we could take during labor."

A class to fit your schedule

Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has long been known for its excellent maternity services, and thousands of expectant parents have attended its maternity classes in the 29 years they have been offered.

"Education is such an important part of the process," says Betsy Collins, childbirth education coordinator at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. "The more prepared a woman feels the better, and we are here to help."

One of the hospital's most popular maternity classes is called Preparation for Childbirth, a complete class on labor and delivery options and postpartum care. In the past, it was offered as a six-week evening course or a full weekend course. Now, the hospital is offering the class online as well.

Sometimes, like Brad, a person's schedule is hectic. He or she may not be able to attend the class in person. He or she works evenings and weekends; his or her job requires travel; or her spouse is deployed. The online class becomes the only option.

"The class offers evidence-based information that expectant parents can review at their own place," says Betsy. "It includes information about stages of labor, comfort techniques, common medical procedures, as well as newborn and postpartum care."

The multi-media class includes videos, personal birth stories, 3D animations, games and activities to engage expectant parents. After registration, the parents will receive a pass code that allows them access to all the information for 30 days. At $70, the cost is the same as the live class.

"Our hope is that we are able to provide the education that moms and their birth partners need in the way that is best for them, whether it's in person at a class or online," adds Betsy.

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