Back to class

My husband and I attended our first lesson in Childbirth Education Course on Friday evening, which I had signed up with Thomson Medical Center. There are 5 classes in total and a doctor’s talk. We were so late for the first class because of horrendous heavy traffic, turning up more than 30 minutes after class was supposed to have started. But it turned out we weren’t so late after all, the instructor was making an introductory speech when we entered. Also we were not the last ones, another couple came later than us.

The course is held in a large room with a projector and rows of chairs right at the far end, and there were rows of mattresses with pillows behind the chairs. (My husband griped later that the place was dusty because he developed stuffy nose as a result.) There were about 14 couples sitting on the mattresses facing the instructor. To break the ice, she asked the husbands to introduce themselves and their wives and tell briefly their wives’ pregnancy condition. The couples seem relatively young, compared to us. Most are having baby girls.

The lesson started with pretty simple relaxation and stretching exercises, which the instructor recommended that the preggy ladies practice for 30 mins a day. These series of exercises help to relax the back, the pelvic, tummy, neck muscles, and also to relieve feet cramp. We also learned the Angry Cat pose which supposedly helps to relieve labor pain. I had actually done the Angry Cat pose before my pregnancy to relax my back muscle so that I could bend to touch my toes. In fact many of the exercises are derived from yoga poses which I had done before. I noticed that many of the ladies present seem to have problem with the Angry Cat pose. I suspect it’s because they don’t exercise regularly. And that probably explains why some of them have difficulty sleeping, since exercise relaxes the mind and body. Hopefully these stretching exercises will help me to manage the pain during childbirth and not rely on too much painkillers, particularly not having to take epidural. I also hope the pelvic exercises help to reduce the possibility of me having to have an episiotomy. And if Loh asks how I manage it, I’ll tell him he has to pay me a royalty fee for the info.

After like 30 mins of exercise demonstration and practices, we had a short break. There were biscuits and water provided, nothing fancy but I guess I can’t complain. We continued with the instructor telling us about diet, things to avoid during pregnancy like driving, food to avoid, weight gain and pregnancy myths. I’ve read literature in WebMD, Babycenter and others that cold cut meat should be avoided. This is rather tough for me since I like sandwiches. I was told to take only freshly made sandwiches, but problem is the meat is usually not freshly prepared. Even salad from deli has to be avoided, since the preparation may not be done under hygienic condition. So it seems like I have to forgo my preferred food, and go for cooked food which tends to be mostly Asian or local food that is available in the area I work. But I guess I can still take pasta, soup and quiche.

The instructor also informed us to watch our weight gain, and I was classified as underweight pre-pregnancy (BMI measurement), and I’ve to gain 12-18 kgs (26.5-40 pounds). Honestly I feel that the BMI is not a good indicator of the fat content nor even physical fitness of a person, but it’s a convenient measurement. A person with normal BMI can be fatty, as exemplified by many Asians because they have more fat than muscles in their bodies. And a high BMI doesn’t mean a person is fat but he may have a lot of muscles. According to WebMD, generally a preggy lady should gain 2-4 pounds during the first 3 months and a pound a week for the remaining of the pregnancy. So far I’ve only gained about 4.5 kg (10 pounds) in my current 23rd week. I’m short of at least 2 pounds. Now my husband feels that
he needs to fatten me up, and told me to take a glass of chocolate milk a day, and to eat a little extra at every meals. This is the time when baby Alex needs a lot of nutrients to grow.

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