Pregnancy and childbirth are things we take for granted. We assume that when a woman conceives, she will easily learn everything she needs from her peers. This might have been the case in the past when joint family was the norm. But in today’s single family reality, it’s hard to get help from peers.

Besides peer support, medical professionals cannot help much due to low doctor-patient ratio, socio-cultural contexts and other issues. The only option left to a mother is to learn what she needs as the pregnancy progresses.

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Let’s first recognize that pregnancy is a completely different chapter in a woman’s life. Conceiving a human baby in your body, nurturing it and delivering a healthy child is no small feat. A mother should prepare for this even before the child is in the womb.

When a woman becomes pregnant, her head explodes with thousands of questions. Why is my body changing the way it is now? What should I eat? Why do I go through such frequent mood swings? What exercises should I do? How do I prepare for work? Should I opt for a caesarean section or natural childbirth? How do I take care of my newborn? How to feed the baby?

These are just some of the questions a mother faces on her 40-week journey. Getting answers to these questions is crucial for the mother because they will allow her to make informed decisions and give her the confidence to bring her child into the world and raise her in the right way.

Developed countries have a setup called antenatal classes to educate and prepare mothers with these responses. These courses are not medical in nature. Rather, they are conducted by trained childbirth educators who teach and guide a mother on the essentials of a healthy pregnancy, labor, newborn care, and more.

While peer support in the Bangladeshi context is more experience-based, these prenatal classes are a blend of traditional knowledge and scientific evidence.

Preparing for pregnancy, balancing diet and exercise during pregnancy, knowing the signs of labor, knowing when to see a doctor and how to cope with labor, knowing how things go during childbirth, knowing labor positions, childbirth, relaxation techniques, postpartum care, taking care of a newborn, etc. are some of the topics taught in prenatal classes. Ideally, there would be several classes to cover these topics and a group of expectant and expectant mothers would join the class.

Some may think that prenatal classes are just for pregnant women, but that’s not the case. On the contrary, a person who is planning to have a baby (be it a husband, friend, mother-in-law or sister of a pregnant woman) can also participate in the courses. to better understand.

Every pregnancy is different. Even a mother who has already given birth knows this to be true. It is therefore essential to know this journey of 40 weeks for a successful birth. A person who knows is confident in his decisions. A positive birth story is something a mother cherishes for a long time and knowing all about the pregnancy journey is the first step to making it memorable.

Afifa Raihana is an Amani Birth-trained childbirth educator and co-founder of Matritto.com.

Ishrat Jahan is a teacher, head of the finance department at Birshreshtha Noor Mohammad Public College and founder of Matritto.com, a social enterprise that solves issues related to pregnancy, parenthood and motherhood.