Parents Centre



Childbirth Education

For almost 60 years Parents Centres Inc have championed the cause in support of parents throughout New Zealand.

Our core services were built around the rights of women to birth in a supported, empowered, active & respectful environment and to provide relevant, research-based information for parents to enable you to make informed choices and decisions for your families.

Antenatal Course Outlines - please see Parent Education tab for 2016 scheduled Antenatal education/classes

Foetal Development

  • Effects on foetus of drugs, alcohol and smoking


    • Information on available smoking cessation courses

    Prenatal Care

    • “Routine” tests and their significance
    • Options in childbirth, caregiver, and place of birth
    • Visits to caregiver, including birth plans, communication, seeking second opinion, issues surrounding informed choice and consent
    • Special tests, including ultrasound scanning, electronic foetal monitoring
    • Possible pregnancy problems, including signs and symptoms


    • Relevance and importance of nutrition in pregnancy
    • Increased nutritional needs in pregnancy and ways of ensuring these are met
    • Nutritional means of reducing pregnancy complications/discomforts
    • Dental care in pregnancy

    Physical and Psychological Needs

    • Changes in the mother's physiology/pregnancy discomforts
    • Psychological/emotional changes arising out of physical changes, changes in lifestyle and circumstances, changing sexuality, relationship changes

    Pelvic Awareness

    • Description of the pelvis. Exercise to demonstrate how the pelvis moves and positions useful for increasing the size of the outlet
    • Overview of pelvic organs
    • Description of the pelvic floor: the muscles, their shape and the significance of this shape
    • Pelvic floor exercises and perineal massage
    • Optimal foetal positioning

    Relaxation - interwoven

    • Demonstrate breathing awareness as a relaxation technique. May include visualisation, progressive relaxation - optional
    • Discuss relaxation as a life skill and it’s use in labour
    • Enhancing relaxation during Labour by modifying the environment; role of support people; positions for labour and birth
    • Use of massage and touch; water and heat

    Stretching and Exercise

    • Benefits and cautions of stretching in pregnancy
    • Warm-ups and basic stretches
    • Posture and back care
    • Stretching to include the way the out breath is used in labour
    • General exercise


    • The physiological and psychological aspects of pain signals in labour
    • The role of pain signals in labour
    • Ways of working with pain signals

    Description of Labour

    • An overview of the complete labour/birth process.
      • Signs of impending labour
      • Onset of labour
      • First stage patterns
      • Birthing behaviour and emotional responses
      • Admission procedures if appropriate
      • Monitoring of mother and baby
      • Second stage and birth
      • Third stage
      • Initial contact with baby

    Drugs, Obstetric Procedures and their Alternatives

    • Informed decision making and consents
    • Alternative methods and self help techniques
    • Common obstetric procedures: risks/benefits/alternatives
    • Description of drugs used for pain relief: risks/benefits/alternatives


    • Benefits of breastfeeding
    • First contact with baby – the importance of skin to skin
    • Positioning the baby at the breast
    • Physiology of lactation. Supply = demand, let-down reflex
    • Possible early challenges: sore nipples, engorgement etc
    • Supplementary feeds, conflicting advice
    • Mother’s nutritional needs while breastfeeding
    • Local breastfeeding resources and support available
    • BFHI & the 10 Steps to successful breastfeeding
    • Contraception for breastfeeding mother

    Postnatal Issues

    • Lochia, third day blues, ‘after pains’, rooming-in, demand feeding, early discharge, care during the immediate postpartum period, conflicting advice
    • Newborn appearance, care of the newborn, circumcision if appropriate
    • Vitamin K, jaundice, Guthrie test, neonatal intensive care, vaccinations, baby with special needs
    • Safe Sleeping – co sleeping, head shape, sleep positions, mattress wrapping


    Early Days at Home

    • Ideas for coping in the first few weeks, including self-care
    • Tiredness, reassessment of priorities, simplifying housekeeping
    • Clear communication
    • Sexuality and Contraception - variation in needs and desires, importance of communication

    Unplanned Experiences

    • There are many aspects to this topic and it should be woven into the classes wherever possible. Outcomes that should be included are:
      • Unexpected obstetric complications Postnatal Depression/PTSD
      • Sick or premature infant high/special needs babies
      • Stillbirth Any experience that does not match
      • Cot Death circumstances
      • Discussion on grieving and ways of coping in these circumstances

    Well Child Care

    • Entitlement to universal well child care
    • Options in well child providers



Parents Centres Inc has as its goals for childbirth education:

· To provide an opportunity for women and their support people to explore beliefs around pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting

·To encourage consideration and discussion of birthplace options including homebirth and birth Centres

· To provide information and learning opportunities that enhances the knowledge and skills of support people

· To encourage informed decision making and increase confidence in parents ability to make good decisions for themselves and their babies by exploring options

· To protect, support and promote breastfeeding and the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI)

· To support and build confidence, self responsibility and participation in the learning process

· To facilitate social and community support networks

· To utilise current theory around adult teaching and group processes including planning, assessment, evaluation and facilitation techniques

· To have Parents Centres national office assume responsibility for all Childbirth Educator employment-related matters

· To ensure Centres will retain all community-based Childbirth Education involvement

· To ensure that Parents Centres Childbirth Education will be recognised as the best and that Parents Centres will attract, recruit and retain the cream of the industry

· To ensure that Parents Centres is recognised as the first port of call and the number one Childbirth Education provider

· To offer a strong programme support infrastructure through efficient and effective management

· To ensure that Parents Centres will be the recognised and preferred Childbirth Educator employer

· To ensure that Parents Centres is a best-practice employer that provides effective professional development opportunities

· To ensure that Childbirth Educators will be a cohesive and effective team

· To engage professional Childbirth Educators who are; trained to an acknowledged standard, members of a recognised professional body and associated with an international body in order to keep abreast of trends

· To ensure that there will be a sufficient supply of Childbirth Educators within the industry to satisfy Centres demand

· To set clear, consistently applied standards relating to all aspects of Childbirth Education

· To ensure that Childbirth Education is universally accessible to Parents Centres’ defined (by geography, socioeconomic, ethnicity, flexible delivery mechanisms, relevance and appropriateness) market

· To ensure that Childbirth Education class attendees become Parents Centres members

· To promote and develop opportunities to provide consistent, client focused accessible services

· To exhibit leadership in defining best practice for the industry across all aspects of Childbirth Education to include content, delivery, teaching and evaluation

· To become a significant market influencer of trends in the birthing experience

· To recognise change over time and adopt strong and robust change management processes to work with all aspects of change relating to Childbirth Education

· To acknowledge that Childbirth Education is the shop front of the organisation and, as such, requires all necessary resource in order to ensure it delivers effectively

· To ensure that Parents Centres Childbirth Education is highly visible and is prioritised in the marketing plan

· To deliver exemplary service to our defined target market

· To establish key relationships in the government sector in order to influence policy to ensure Childbirth Education is accessible for all New Zealand families

 Please see the information in the Parent Education tab for Antenatal Education & scheduled classes for 2011

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