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Third Trimester The Final Countdown

At the beginning of the third trimester pregnancy starts to feel real. Your belly is larger and you are thinking more about birth and parenthood. You’re also getting more (often conflicting) advice from people in your life, sometimes even strangers! Here is a guide to some of the things you should keep in mind at the end of pregnancy, or add to your to-do list of things to plan before you get too close to your due month.

Taking prenatal classes
Prenatal classes are more than a place where we learn how to “breathe properly” during labour. They are usually a fun place where you can learn about the options for labour and birth are in the area you live in and the services that are available to you postpartum and in the first months of your baby’s life. That said, it’s important to choose a class that fits with your values and needs - hospital classes usually focus on policies on giving birth in that institution and options for pain relief, while independent classes may be broader and include information about more than one midwifery practice or hospital. If you’re not happy with the first class you take, try out another (that’s why it’s important to take the class earlier rather than later). birth room is not a classroom – with all the things happening, you don’t have time to learn anything new.
That’s why it’s important to take classes and learn as much as you can in advance.

Classes are also an amazing opportunity to meet other people who are expecting a baby at about the same time you are and to form a network of people you can reach out to on maternity leave. This is a place where life-long friendships are often made (imagine how wonderful it is for children to say – we’ve been friends since we were foetuses!).
When the class is over you and your birth companion should feel confident that you have a good understanding of the labour and birth processes and the services available in your area.

Taking breastfeeding classes
No matter how long you are planning to breastfeed, your body will produce milk after you give birth and the best way to use that milk is to feed your baby. Being prepared for breastfeeding and knowing what awaits you in the first hours and days after birth can make or break your postpartum experience, there simply is no other way to put it. A dedicated breastfeeding class can help you understand how breastfeeding works, how to get off to a good start and what to watch out for. It’s also a good place for partners to learn about how to support breastfeeding and provide practical help. Finally, they are another great place to meet other parents who will have babies about the same age as yours and can provide support and understanding during the first few weeks after your babies are born.
Beware, not all breastfeeding classes are created equal. Look around for something that meets your needs and is in your area - you should leave the class confident that you know how breastfeeding works and what to expect in the first few weeks postpartum - but also where to find support and extra information.

No matter what classes you are taking, make sure to seek them out and take them as early as possible. It may be that they fill up or are not available around your due month (especially if you are due during the summer or a holiday season). If you can’t take a class because you can’t find a time that works for you, ask about private one-on-one classes. They don’t have the benefit of meeting other parents but can give you great information and support.