So you’ve read What to Expect When You’re Expecting but you’re still anxious.
The baby is on the way, but you want to make sure you’re still as prepared as you can possibly be. Luckily, there are a variety of classes designed to get out your pre-labor jitters and put all of your previous knowledge to good use.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, childbirth and infant skills classes can offer expecting parents confidence in their abilities, the opportunity to discuss their fears and concerns about labor or parenting skills, learn pain relief techniques and, at certain locations, tour the birthing facilities.
Here’s where to find local classes worth getting excited about, and leaving your anxiety behind.
Virginia Hospital Center
The Arlington hospital has a variety of classes to choose from for upcoming parents, focusing on topics like infant health and labor preparation. The Infant Skills class offers tips on infant safety, when to call the pediatrician, sleeping patterns, bathing, swaddling and more. Other classes include breastfeeding basics, sibling classes, child birth and prenatal classes, as well as gentle yoga sessions. The location also offers free hospital tours on weekends with a valid ID. // 1701 N. George Mason Drive, Arlington; prices vary
This organization is dedicated to offering practical information and evidence-based parenting classes to the Northern Virginia community, backed by a board of medical advisers, certified child birth educators and lactation consultants. Classes are held at two different locations, and include topics such as child birth, hypnobirthing (a practice of breathing exercises, relaxation, visualization and meditative practice) and single-mom child birth. Some topics require weekly attendance to complete. // Rosslyn location: 1001 19th St. N., Suite 1200, Arlington; DC location: MedStar Washington Hospital Center: 110 Irving St. NW, Washington, DC; prices vary
Reston Hospital Center
Just pulling into the hospital before labor can cause a lot of anxiety, but getting used to being in the facility and speaking with the knowledgeable staff who work there can be comforting to new parents. That’s why the Reston Hospital Center offers educational classes on labor signs, when to call the doctor and postpartum recovery, with sessions on the correct way to perform infant CPR and baby care basics. Still have questions beyond the curriculum? The on-site birth navigator, Shannon Longendyke, can answer any questions you might have. This location also offers one-hour tours of the facilities for expecting parents. // Reston Hospital Center: 1850 Town Center Parkway, Reston; prices vary
Finding time in a busy schedule to carve out several hours for a birthing class can be stressful enough. Thankfully, INOVA offers both in-person and online classes on everything you may need to know before the big day. Topics include understanding pregnancy, understanding cesarean birth, baby care for fathers, the first year and beyond, as well as a classes on twins, triplets and more. The location doesn’t just offer convenient classes, it also has a New Moms Return to Work group and other support groups, all of which are free and offer new mothers the opportunity to share experiences, get support and make new local connections. // 8110 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church; prices vary
Sun & Moon Yoga Studio
So, you’ve tried your best to absorb all of the necessary information about labor, when baby arrives and beyond, but you’re still looking for a great way to relieve some of the aches, pain and tension in your body. Several local locations offer prenatal yoga, but Sun & Moon offers classes twice a week where expectant mothers of all experience levels can learn ways to stay comfortable in their bodies during pregnancy, and use their breath to calm and steady their thoughts. Looking to get back into your practice once baby arrives? Yoga for You and the Baby is designed as a postpartum class that can strengthen and stretch your body with emphasis on how to feed, hold, lift and support your baby through daily life (as well as infant massage techniques!). // 3811 Lee Highway, Arlington; 9998 Main St., Fairfax; prices vary
For more family-related stories, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.