Lamaze International has created a very extensive selection of online classes for expecting families. Currently there are eight classes in the online catalogue, from a free early pregnancy class-Prepared for Pregnancy: Start Off Right to parenting classes, breastfeeding instruction and even a VBAC class for those parents birthing after a cesarean.
The newest addition to the online class roundup is Sex During Pregnancy and Beyond. It is very appropriate to introduce birth professionals to this class during February, when Valentine’s Day is celebrated. A class designed to provide information about sex and intimacy can be a gift that the couple gives each other. This useful class was written by sexuality expert Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski – a long time Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator and recognized leader on the topic of sex during the childbearing year.
As a Lamaze childbirth educator, I do touch on the topic of sex and intimacy during pregnancy and in the postpartum period during my classes. I try and weave useful information in at various points of my series classes, but with many other topics also demanding time and attention, I know that families want (and deserve) more information than I can dish up in the short time I have available. Some parents may leave feeling like there could have been more covered on these topics. I am thrilled that I can now share this affordable online class with my students.
The objectives of this class are clear and appropriate
- Explain the difference between sex and holistic sexuality
- Clarify myths and misconceptions about sex and pregnancy.
- Discover positive aspects of sexuality during pregnancy, birth and after baby arrives.
- Explore how families can enhance their physical, emotional, and sexual relationship during the childbearing year.
- Identify challenges to the sexual relationship during pregnancy and after baby arrives and ways to deal with them.
There are several benefits from participating in this online class
- It can be completed at a time convenient for the family.
- It was created by Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski, who is an expert in covering these topics respectfully and accurately.
- It can be viewed more than once and in a comfortable and private location.
- The online discussion is moderated by trained educators who respond promptly to questions and inquiries.
- It is affordable.
In addition to multimedia presentations there are downloadable activities and worksheets that couples can work on together. These worksheets help advance guided communication and assist families in having productive dialogue about these often sensitive topics. This course does an excellent job of examining many of the myths that surround the topic of sex and intimacy during the childbearing year and corrects many misconceptions that are associated with this topic.
Some people are uncomfortable with the physical body changes that occur in pregnancy, and may be uncomfortable sharing intimacy with their partner due to the way they feel about these changes. Dr. Podgurski discusses this topic and helps pregnant people to examine these feelings and possibly come to a place of comfort and acceptance at the magic of how their body is changing to grow a new person.
I love how Dr. Podgurski tackles the challenges of discussing the “how tos” of being intimate from a physical standpoint. Let’s face it, it can be more challenging to have sexual intercourse when there is a big belly full of baby “in the way.” With tasteful diagrams and thoughtful tips, couples are supported in exploring how to continue their physical relationship as they also move further along in the pregnancy.
Sex and intimacy in the postpartum period often looks different for every family. All the variables are touched on and the realities of postpartum sex are covered. “Make lube your friend postpartum!” says Dr. Podgurski. Postpartum emotions, body image, and the realities of parenting an infant all come into play and are covered in the online class. Families will find lots of support for finding their way during this often fragile time.
Dr. Podgurski was kind enough to answer a few questions about the topic of sex during the childbearing year.
Sharon Muza: Why is it important that that childbirth educators bring up this topic in class?
Dr. MJ Podgurski: Often the topic is avoided during pregnancy and the childbearing year. It’s as if conception occurs, and a woman’s sexuality is pushed aside. Women can be mothers and lovers at the same time; communication and intimacy are crucial to healthy relationships. Many people had no sexuality education – or classes that did not cover sexuality as part of life. The CBE is in a position to open doors that will encourage sexual health and empower women and their partners.
SM: Why is it important that expecting families talk about and continue to nurture intimacy in the childbearing year?
MJP: Making a baby comes from a sexual experience. If that experience is consensual, it can evoke joy, passion and love. Nurturing those positive feelings of intimacy during the childbearing year can help women and their partners become closer. Babies can add stress to families, and the knowledge of continued intimacy is reassuring. Intimacy is not only physical – it involves caring, trust, sharing, and a host of other emotional pluses.
SM: What do you think is the most important message for expectant families to hear?
MJP: Our children are a primary force in our lives; they also will grow to be independent adults. Remember that parents need one another as partners; sexuality is powerful and can create a deep bond between two people. Don’t take yourselves too seriously. Laugh during sex! Remember sexual and sensuous contact doesn’t need to involve sex. A massage is wonderful, touch can ease tension, mindful listening to one another has the power to re-charge tired parents. If physical contact feels unpleasant postpartum, be honest with your partner, and seek help from a health care provider or sexuality counselor. Enjoy your time together, no matter what it involves.
Just like with pregnancy, labor/birth and postpartum topics, families deserved to have evidence based information to help them make decisions. Sex During Pregnancy and Beyond is a fact based class that accurately covers the topics of sex and intimacy during the childbearing year. Families can not do better than to have Dr. Mary Jo Podgurski providing them information and activities that help them examine their feelings and navigating this time with respect and sensisitivity. I particularly appreciate how this course is delivered without judgement and is appropriate for all kinds of families, including those who are in a lesbian relationship. Please consider sharing this resource with the families you work with. They will appreciate your recommendation of this course.