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Cutting Class

Preparing for pregnancy is important, but these days, many women are turning to the internet or DVDs instead of classes. Judy Nolte, Editor-in-Chief of American Baby Magazine, explains why it's important to do your homework before baby is born.

Attendance at prenatal classes is down. In 2000, 70% of new parents attended classes. In 2005, however, only 56% did. "People just aren't interested in going to classes anymore," says Nolte. "It's quite a change from 10 or 15 years ago when going to class was all the rage."

Cramped schedules and use of the internet are just two factors that have less parents turning hitting the books. Other parents are choosing to read books or rent DVD's instead of attending formal classes. However, there is something to be said for the personal interaction that takes place in a classroom setting.

"We at American Baby think it's a very good idea to go to classes because we believe knowledge is power," says Nolte. However, Nolte says she and her staff understand why many parents don't want to attend. "I think a lot of people... are turned off by the attitudes of some of the instructors," Nolte adds. Some parents feel they're being preached to in a class, almost as if there is a "right" and "wrong" way to do things. There are numerous choices when it comes to any issue, including labor, delivery and the parenting that lies beyond.

To try to win back some parents, many instructors are restructuring their courses to be more convenient. Some are offering flexible hours or parenting "weekends" instead of a weekly time slot. "They're trying to be more interactive... less rigid about what they do," says Nolte.

Regardless of what option you choose, be sure to do your research. There are a lot of choices out there, and many ways to look into them. Whatever method you choose, the work will be worth it in the end.

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By Erin Petrun

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