Unique Classes for Expectant Families

Northwestern Medicine
Women's Health August 08, 2018

Having a baby can be daunting, especially for first-time parents. Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital has a variety of class offerings for expectant families to prepare them for childbirth and parenting. The classes range from the standard Essential Classes, such as Understanding Birth and CPR: Infant & Child, to Special Interest classes that are unique to Prentice.

Each course is taught by one of the 20 nurses in the Childbirth and Family Education department. All of the instructors are certified in childbirth education, breastfeeding education or basic life instruction – but, a lot of them are certified in two or all three! In addition, every instructor has worked as a nurse on a labor and delivery floor, in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or a postpartum unit. “I think the dedication of our Prentice education team has for new families is so evident,” said Jonna Horgan, manager of Childbirth and Family Education at Prentice. “They are so committed to answering questions and preparing the expectant couple or new family for the future.”

Understanding Birth, the most popular class, is one of the Essential Classes for new families. This course gives a general overview of what to expect through labor, delivery and postpartum. The Infant & Child CPR class is a close second in terms of popularity, with attendance continuing to increase over the years. While this is not a formal certification course, it gives the expectant parents hands-on training for realistic situations.

What really make Prentice unique to other hospitals, are some of the Special Interest Classes that are offered. “This is the hospital that you want to deliver at, just for the level of care and what our staff can do to prepare you for parenthood,” said Horgan. Classes like Expectant Fathers, Bowser & the Baby (sadly, no dogs allowed), Tike Hike and Expectant Grandparents really set Prentice apart from other hospitals in terms of creativity and depth of education. 

Covered by the New York Times earlier this year, the Expectant Fathers class highlights how to support your partner and challenges unique to being a father. “It’s a safe environment for expectant dads to get out any worries that they have, without their partner there,” said Horgan. “I think it’s understated, but very popular and the dads really like it.”

In addition to the in-person Essential and Special Interest Classes, Prentice also offers a variety of online classes and a Transition to Motherhood series. The 6-week Transition to Motherhood series is a postpartum support class for new mothers. “It’s a good way to get moms to socialize with other moms and let them know that whatever they’re going through is completely normal and they’re not alone,” said Horgan.

The courses are primarily developed and updated by Horgan and her nurse coordinators, but they are open to ideas from all of the staff. “We get updated almost immediately when there is a change in labor and delivery practice and guidelines,” said Horgan. “Our patients are getting the most up-to-date ‘what to expect’ when they come to one of our classes at Prentice.” The team is working on developing an additional breastfeeding class that will hopefully focus on pumping, returning to work and challenges to breastfeeding that come after delivery.

Whatever your needs may be, Prentice has educational offerings for everyone. “It can be a little challenging to think ‘What classes should I take?’ and I think that’s the biggest question because everyone’s pregnancy and family situation can be different,” said Horgan. She recommends calling to speak with one of the community nurse educators to personalize your educational experience.

For a complete list of classes or to register, visit classes.nmh.org or call Health Resources at 877.926.4664.


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