Anyone have any prenatal class recommendations in Vancouver, BC?
July 8, 2011 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Anyone have any prenatal class recommendations in Vancouver, BC?

I was looking at Hypnobabies and Dancing Star Birth, but see the hospitals offer classes too. The choices are overwhelming! Can anyone offer some recommendations based on personal experience?

Many thanks!
posted by branparsons to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
My wife and I did the hospital class at St. Paul's, our nearest hospital. Can't speak for the "private" ones, but the hospital class was given by a really enthusiastic nurse, and was full of details/ancedotes. Also a tour of the ward (which was a bit concerning, given some cleanliness issues we both saw!).

They go through when to check in, the birth process itself, complications that can arise, drug choices, diapering, breastfeeding, first days, going home, etc. Probably pretty similar to private classes.

Not that the hospital is opposed to birth plans and so on but they tend to be more pragmatic than that. As I recall, they made the point not to get too hung up on birth plans, as the unexpected happens and you don't need going "off plan" to stress you out even more. Was OK with us, as we both lean that way anyway, but YMMV.

All in all, we thought it was good. But it did have an "institution" feel to it, being in one of the hospital meeting rooms and all...
posted by amoeba syndrome at 12:50 PM on July 8, 2011

We took a series of prenatal classes at BC Women's, and were happy with them. I hadn't spent much time around small children, so the classes were really helpful for me.
posted by russilwvong at 1:44 PM on July 8, 2011

We were very happy with two trips through the South Community Birth Program, friends who went through their program at a different time liked it a lot as well. They have close ties to BC Women's, it goes a bit beyond just instruction and classes.
posted by N-stoff at 2:48 PM on July 8, 2011

I liked my classes at St. Paul's. I know a lot of people prefer the programs provided by midwives, but I was really, really impressed with the hospital program and all the info about nursing and so on.

I tend to refer people to the prenatal resources list at Fit 4 Two. (They are now a client, but I swear I became friends with the owner long before, when we were both new moms, and before that, she kept making presentations at community centres about mom and baby stuff and I would have given out that link even then, because it's a really good list of vetted childbirth prep class providers. And I'm not getting paid to tell you about them!)

If you are looking to build up community in your own neighbourhood, I wholeheartedly recommend Fit 4 Two. Fit 4 Two offers pre and postnatal fitness classes, but they are so much more about building your social health and your health as a new parent, too. It's awesome because the instructor can tell you not just about fitness, but also about all the childbirth and prenatal stuff you need to know. And your fellow classmates are all from your neighbourhood and also pregnant at the same time, so you will have this instant group of friends from which to draw when your baby is born! Yay! All this time later, it's just lovely to run into past classmates in the neighbourhood, at the elementary school or at kids' programs and to still have those ties. Plus I got lots of good tips from the instructors and participants. (Again, they're a client, but I've taken their classes and I really believe in what they do. I just got home from a 7.5 km walk with my former instructor -- you wouldn't believe how many people said hello to her during that walk. What an amazing example of social health.)
posted by acoutu at 12:26 AM on July 9, 2011

Thank you guys for your stories and thoughts! :)

amoeba syndrome - Did your wife end up at St. Paul's for the delivery? I hope that it was okay - your comment on the cleanliness made me worry a bit.

N-stoff - I hadn't heard of the South Community Birth Program before, but I'm intrigued by it and will look into them further! I almost wish I'd heard of them before I found my midwives. I didn't notice any prenatal classes... Do you have to join them to access the classes and use them throughout for full care? I really like that they can help you find a GP afterwards too.
posted by branparsons at 10:51 AM on July 12, 2011

Yes, she delivered one baby and had one c-section there. The cleanliness issue was a disgusting looking ceiling vent; not critical, but was a bit unnerving, not having spent a lot of time in hospitals. She sent a note to management, and got a decent reply.

The staff was, with a notable exception (but I digress...), great - both times. St. Paul's gets a bad rap being downtown's and DTES's main hospital, but it's pretty good. And the mat ward is well isolated from ER. Cameraphone entry, etc.
posted by amoeba syndrome at 7:45 PM on July 12, 2011

Do you have a doula? (if not, please get one. You will not regret it. If you need more info or some help finding one in your area, memail me. If you can't afford one, there are low and zero-cost doulas always available).

Ask your doula for class reccomendations. She might also be a childbirth educator. Hospital classes are usually not so great. A class that caters to you and your goals specifically is absolutely available and ideal.

If you plan to breastfeed, start attending La Leche League meetings now (it isn't weird in the slightest). The ladies who attend and the LLL leaders will have some good suggestions and reccomendations. Plus, you will have a good support group for after you have given birth.
posted by LyndsayMW at 8:57 PM on July 12, 2011

Thanks for the reassurance, amoeba syndrome. I picked the one (over BC Women's...) and am hoping I made a good choice. I had heard the staff were nice. I did a very brief tour through the mat ward (my uncle works in maintenance there), and upon glancing around then, it seemed like a very nice unit.

LyndsayMW, thanks for your response -- I'll get back to you via PM!
posted by branparsons at 2:02 PM on July 14, 2011

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