Prenatal classes help to prepare you for the birth of your baby. They usually start in the sixth or seventh month. You'll learn about the signs that you're in labor; breathing and relaxation techniques; pain-relief options; and medical interventions. You'll also be given practical advice on caring for your newborn baby, which can be invaluable if you're a first-time parent.
Depending on where you live, there are various types of classes. These range from classes run by a nurse or other certified instructor at the hospital or classes run by organizations like Lamaze International (lamaze.org) or the Bradley Method (bradleybirth.com). Classes are a great way to meet other expectant parents, and by doing so you'll gain an invaluable mutual support system through the rest of your pregnancy and the early weeks of parenting.
By attending prenatal classes with you, your partner can help to prepare for the labor and early weeks of parenting. Classes are also a good way for your partner to meet other dads-to-be. The significant role fathers can play during labor and in the early weeks of parenting is widely acknowledged, and as a result prenatal classes have become much more father-friendly.