Q: Do I really need to take childbirth classes?
A: If you're a first-time parent, you should definitely attend some kind of childbirth prep class. Most hospital and birthing centers offer programs that give parents-to-be an idea of what to expect during childbirth, from signs that you're in labor to the nitty-gritty on vaginal and c-section deliveries. The reason these classes are so valuable is that you'll be less fearful, less anxious, and better prepared to make decisions if you know what to expect.In addition to taking you through the labor process, childbirth classes will teach you about different medication options and how to develop the best birth plan for you. No matter what you view as the "ideal" delivery, you'll learn that there are factors beyond your control -- like how fast your labor progresses -- that can change even the most detailed birth plan. So it's best to be fully informed about the labor process and to know all your options. --Ilisa Cohen