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Fresh Life: Childbirth Education Association Plays an Important Role

by on September 30, 2012 6:33 AM

Nothing epitomizes the meaning of a Fresh Life better than an actual new life.

Whether it’s your first or fourth experience bringing life into the world, it is important to be prepared for what changes may take place with your body and household, what can be expected during the birthing process, how to care for your new addition and how to prepare siblings for their new brother or sister. The Childbirth Education Association of State College helps to make each step along the way an educated, relaxing and positive experience for all participants in their organization.

The Childbirth Education Association is a non-profit, volunteer organization that has been serving the area for more than 40 years. The group was originally founded to make pregnancy, birth, delivery and parenthood a more informed and satisfying experience and is mostly dedicated to promoting the concepts of Family-Centered Maternity Care through a variety of classes. These educational classes make pregnancy, birth, delivery, and parenthood a more informed and satisfying experience. All CEA classes are taught by certified instructors and class sizes small to ensure that each participant receives the attention they need, as there are often many questions.

The classes offered by CEA include the newest addition to the curriculum, Early Pregnancy, which is a class designed for women in the first five months of pregnancy or those contemplating pregnancy. The class is one session and provides a better understanding of the changes of pregnancy as well as the emotional and physiological aspects of pregnancy, fetal growth and development, prenatal care and testing, nutrition, environmental influences, and exercise. It is a good foundation for the Prepared Childbirth class which is a six week series of classes (or sometimes a weekend intensive) that incorporates a variety of methods of prepared childbirth including the emotional and physiological aspects of late pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum. Individuals taking this class will be more informed about special breathing and relaxation techniques during labor, available medications, alternative birthing options, and the role of the support person before, during and after labor. This class is best suited for those in their fifth month or later of pregnancy.

While the anticipation of bringing baby home and caring for him or her may be overwhelming, the CEA helps to calm and reassure couples by offering an informative and fun Baby Care class. This class is a single session class which covers topics such as baby safety and equipment, bathing, diapering, feeding, choosing the baby’s doctor, and making the adjustment into parenthood. While many who attend classes are first time parents, there is also a class geared for those who have already had a child or children and want to prepare them for what to expect. The Sibling Preparation class prepares children ages 2 to 10 for the events surrounding the birth of a brother or sister. Information includes appearance and behavior of a newborn, as well a discussion of hospital rules, procedures, and sibling visitation. This class is held at Mount Nittany Medical Center and parent(s) must accompany their child(ren). It is appropriate to register for this class anytime after the sixth month of pregnancy.

Education is only one part of what CEA does. Becoming a member of CEA helps to ensure that the organization remains healthy and dynamic by providing different points of view or new ideas. By becoming a member, one has the opportunity to receive discounts or rewards at several participating businesses around the area, access to free playgroups for your children during the week or on Saturdays in various locations, monthly social events and CEA meetings, and a monthly newsletter, and if you are interested in donating time, you can serve on the Board of Directors, volunteer for events, or assist one of the teachers during the classes. Assisting with a class is a way to share with others what experiences you had during your pregnancy or delivery

The CEA also provides a great opportunity for those interested in becoming a childbirth education teacher. The organization offers a 12-month hands-on childbirth educator training program that will teach anatomy and physiology as related to pregnancy and childbirth, effective teaching and group dynamics. This will help to prepare those interested in obtaining certification. This program will help to improve prenatal and postpartum services in Centre County, while working with enthusiastic pregnant women in need of information and strategies for childbirth.

I participated in two of the classes offered by CEA while preparing for the birth of my daughter and found the classes to be a wonderful and rewarding way to become educated and informed about bringing life into the world. I was so interested in the dynamics of the group that I enthusiastically joined the Board of Directors and have been contributing ideas, receiving new information, and meeting new individuals who are all interested in the amazing world of pregnancy and childbirth, for several months. I strongly suggest anyone who is thinking about pregnancy, who is pregnant, or who wants to join, volunteer, or become involved in CEA classes to contact the Childbirth Education Association at P.O. Box 1074, State College, PA 16804, email info@ceaofstatecollege.org, or call (814) 237-4332.

Classes will be held at the State College Friends School throughout the remainder of the year then will be held at the Calvary Baptist Church on University Drive, beginning in January.



This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.
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