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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I take Prenatal Classes?   Prenatal classes will help you to prepare for your birth experience and the postpartum by providing you with hands-on practice and information about pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and newborn care.  They are a place to ask questions, gather information, address fears or concerns, connect with your souse/partner or labour coach, and to socialize with other expectant parents.


Labour and birth is often faced with anxiety by first-time expectant parents.  Therefore, prenatal classes are invaluable because they help expectant parents feel empowered, that they know what to expect.  This takes away the mystery and makes a positive birth experience more likely. 


Studies have shown that taking prenatal classes can reduce the amount of stress in labour and prepare parents for life with their newborn child.   Taking prenatal classes  helps prepare you  mentally for birth, increases partner  involvement and decreases  interventions  like epidural use.   Taking  prenatal  classes  has  been shown to  increase rates of  breastfeeding success... helping you get off to the best start with your baby.


Prenatal classes can help you:  

  • Understand the changes in your body and emotions during pregnancy, birth and postpartum

  • Gather information and skills to help with labour, birth, postpartum and newborn care

  • Make informed decisions about the care that you and your baby receive

  • Connect with your spouse/partner or labour coach

  • Address your concerns with the instructor and other couples with the same concerns

  • Learn about a wide range of views about birth and parenting

  • Find out about the various community resources available to you and your family


Why take Prenatal Classes with New Life?

  • New Life offers a wide variety of prenatal classes to meet the needs of all families, wherever they plan to give birth

  • Learn ways of coping in labour and postpartum from an experienced Certified Childbirth Educator, Labour Doula and mother of two

  • We incorporate the most current research into our teaching and bring a wealth of experience to our classes

  • We view pregnancy and birth as normal, natural and healthy

  • We value family-centred care, informed decision-making and respect for individual choices

  • New Life clients have access to follow-up support in case you have questions after class ends

  • Our classes are fun, interactive and loaded with useful information

  • We have many families who met in our group classes, became friends, and are still getting together years later! :)


When in my pregnancy should I take prenatal classes?  It is recommended to take your prenatal class at the beginning of your third trimester. Taking the prenatal class at approximately 28-34 weeks will ensure everything is fresh in your memory. You will also gain the knowledge far enough in advance to plan ahead for your birth with confidence. Although the best time to take prenatal classes is in your last trimester, our classes fill quickly, so please register as far in advance as possible to book a class that fits into your schedule.


How do I choose the right prenatal class for me?  A quality childbirth class should be facilitated by a Certified Childbirth Educator that provides current, evidence based information about the following:

  • The normal process of labor and birth, and health care practices that support it

  • Changes during late pregnancy and the stages of labor

  • A wide variety of coping strategies for managing pain in labor

  • The importance of labor support

  • Movement and positioning during labor and birth

  • Medical interventions and their indications, risks and alternatives

  • How to communicate with your health care provider

  • Developing a birth plan

  • Breastfeeding and newborn care

  • Postpartum care and the adjustment to parenthood

  • Hands-on practice of labour support techniques and newborn care


What childbirth education philosophies are taught in New Life Prenatal Classes?  There are many childbirth education philosophies.  Some methods are more aimed at women wanting an unmedicated birth( Hypnobirthing, Bradley and Birth Works) and others are aimed at encouraging women to make informed choices about all aspects of birth, including pain medication and medical interventions (Lamaze, ICEA, Birthing from Within).  New Life Prenatal uses a multi-disciplined approach which incorporates information from several of the above mentioned methods.  The emphasis is placed on using a broad variety of techniques to teach women how to cope with labour, and teach partners how to best support a labouring woman.  Also discussed in the prenatal classes are the medical interventions/options in birth, and how to make informed choices.  Emphasis is on "freedom of choice based on knowledge of alternatives" and your role as an informed patient and parent.


What if I miss a class (or cannot complete a class) because I give birth early or was sick?  Refunds (less a $25 administration fee) are given up to two weeks prior to class start date.  There are no refunds after that point; no exceptions.   If you miss a class, arrangements may be made to catch you up on the information that was missed  Once you begin a class or a series of classes, there is no refund for not completing the class(s).


Should my partner attend with me?  The instructor helps dad/partners understand their role in helping the labouring woman through all stages of labour and through the post-partum period.  Partners will be given specific tasks that they can perform and tips on how to cope with the way the new baby will affect their relationship.  If dad/partner cannot attend, you may attend by yourself or bring a friend/designated labour coach with you.


I know that I want medication during labour.  Do I still need to take prenatal classes?  Yes.  Prenatal classes will inform you about all medication options for pain relief including how they are administered, when they can be administered and the benefits and risks of each option.  For example, did you know that there are times when it may too early...or too late...for a labouring woman to receive an epidural?  What options do you have then?  Discussing all your options and their benefits and trade-offs will help you to make informed choices.  


I am going to need a cesarean section.  Should I still take prenatal classes?  Even when a cesarean section is needed, participants still find prenatal classes a valuable experience.  Classes will cover issues surrounding a caesarean section birth, teach relaxation skills for before and after the cesarean section and cover many other topics that are relevant to pregnancy, birth (whether vaginal or by cesarean section), breastfeeding, the postpartum period and newborn care.


I'm expecting my second baby. Should I take prenatal classes?  Yes.  Policies, procedures and practices for childbirth may be different than when you gave birth last time.  You want to ensure that you have the latest information to be prepared for what you may experience this time during your labour and birth.  Also, medical techniques change over time and if it has been a few years since you last gave birth, there is a good chance that some things may be different in a hospital setting.


What qualifications should my childbirth educator have?  Childbirth educators who are trained and certified by an accredited organization such as the Childbirth Educators Multidiscipline Program (CCE), International Childbirth Education Association (ICCE), Lamaze International (LCCE), have demonstrated competency in teaching childbirth classes.  Also, find out what teaching experience your childbirth educator has and what their philosophy of childbirth is.  Above all, the childbirth educator should have a passion for teaching about birth.


Image Credit: A beautiful series of photos from Khaled El-Hage, on

Important Note Please keep in mind that prenatal classes are for educational purposes only and cannot take the place of a healthcare professional.  Your healthcare provider should be consulted whenever you have questions about your health or the health of your baby.  Prenatal classes in no way create a physician/nurse and medical patient relationship. Before attempting any of the techniques taught in prenatal classes, be sure your healthcare provider is aware.

prenatal, classes, Toronto, childbirth, birthing, birth, Lamaze, education, Scarborough, Pickering, Markham, pregnancy, pregnant, Rouge, Centenary, Michael Garron, child, infant, baby, Women's College, Sinai, Sunnybrook, St. Michael's, Southlake, hospital
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