A very limited number of expectant mothers research their options before giving birth and as a result childbirth educators, hospitals, and baby product providers such as Huggies®, focus on childbirth education annually during the month of February where there is an emphasis on pregnancy awareness.
The nine months leading up to childbirth can be one of the most exciting and fulfilling times in a woman’s life. However, choosing to have a baby is also one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. It is therefore vital that you become informed about the many facets of pregnancy.
The experience of birth profoundly affects women and their families. One of the best ways for women to empower themselves before giving birth is to attend childbirth education classes, to consult a childbirth educator or read various online and printed guides that are available for expectant mothers. “We would like to encourage pregnant women to gain knowledge. Know your options. Get evidence based information. Know dad’s role. Make informed decisions. Question all aspects of pregnancy, labour, birth and parenting. Learn more about vaginal births and caesareans. Gain insight on breastfeeding options. Know about skin-to-skin for all moms and babies as well as self-help techniques,” says Nthabiseng Leso, Senior Brand Manager: Point of Market Entry (POME).
Pregnant women need to know their rights, including:
- The right of a woman to choose her companion who will provide her with support during pregnancy and childbirth, and who will accompany her to the antenatal care clinic and help her through the labour
- The right of the woman to be treated with respect, dignity and confidentiality
- The right of the woman to ask questions and to get explanation about her condition
To understand the importance of childbirth education, Huggies® introduced The Huggies® Club in 2016 at public clinics across the country. This program facilitates a number of heath talks which focus on a variety of topics that relate to pregnancy, birth and new born care. These talks are conducted by Huggies® Brand Mums. These Brand Mums are well-trained and knowledgeable. They work together with the Department of Health, public clinics and have been involved in several health-related campaigns.
The talks cover topics that include:
- The opportunity to exclude and manage existing medical conditions which can be aggravated by the pregnancy, such as hypertension, diabetes, infections and anaemia
- Free HIV testing and voluntarily counselling (VCT)
- Early recognition of danger signs in pregnancy and post delivery
- Birth preparedness and complication readiness
- Self-care including nutrition and high standard of hygiene
- Information on the role of the father, the male partner and the family
Lynne Bluff, a registered nurse and internationally recognised childbirth educator who is also the editor of the Expectant Mother’s Guide explains how important childbirth education classes are: “Proper childbirth education can help women become more confident and far less fearful about giving birth. We do what we do because we want moms to come out of labour and be able to say, “that was a wonderful experience,””.
Being properly prepared both physically and emotionally, and becoming knowledgeable about the various options and considerations regarding childbirth is crucial for parents. This allows them to feel confident about giving birth and ensures that they will know how to provide the necessary care once their precious newborn arrives.