Where To Go For Childbirth Education

New affordable, childbirth education classes will be offered weekly starting this Sunday, April 27, at River Road Parks & Recreation in response to a change in the way PeaceHealth at RiverBend is offering its classes. The River Road classes, taught by Lillian Shoupe, will focus on relaxation, confronting preconceived cultural ideas of birth, a deeper understanding of anatomy and physiology and building positive affirmation for the process they’re going through.

Shoupe “wears many hats” as a yoga instructor, prenatal teacher and postpartum doula as well as running her own business, Birthing Years Transition. She started offering the classes after PeaceHealth Riverbend ended its weeklong childcare education classes. The PeaceHealth series was changed last fall into one six-hour Saturday class.

The change was brought on by low attendance rates, PeaceHealth Communications Specialist Monique Danziger says.

“It wasn’t maximizing the efficiency of the experts that we had, so what we ended up doing was just shifting those resources,” Danziger says. “The evidence being returned by our surveys was that many parents didn’t have the time, so the numbers were low already and then you’d have parents who would make it to the first of three classes but not the last one or two.”

The PeaceHealth classes cover what to expect before delivery, pain management and breast-feeding. They also discuss pain medication, medical interventions and cesarean birth.”

According to a 2013 national survey by Childcare Connection, 53 percent of mothers took a class either with their current pregnancy or a prior one. Forty-nine percent reported taking weekly classes across multiple weeks while 24 percent took a class over the course of one day.

Shoupe says she is disappointed with the decision to change the classes’ scheduling because of the number of people who can’t commit to a whole day of class. As an active member in the childcare education community, Shoupe had heard from several people who shared these sentiments.

“I understand their [PeaceHealth’s] position, but I think that redundancy is good,” Shoupe says. “Having more classes for more people will only help people be informed consumers and help with healthy pregnancy and the first years of the baby’s life. Education is a good thing, and communities can only grow healthier from it.”

The River Road Park & Recreation classes start Sunday, April 27, and are four three-hour sessions, more info at wkly.ws/1qa. For PeaceHealth’s classes, including an online childbirth class, go to http://wkly.ws/1qb. Courses cost around $60 at River Road and at PeaceHealth.

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