An educational series focused on childbirth, sponsored by Lake District Hospital and Lake County Public Health, commenced on Tuesday, Jan. 7.
The series, four weeks in overall length, will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday evenings in the Penn Wilbur conference room at Lake District Hospital.
Lake County Public Health Registered Nurse Jill Harlan and Lake District Hospital Registered Nurse Jessica Ruef will lead the classes, which will focus on a variety of topics related to childbirth.
“I think the overall purpose is to provide mothers with an overall picture of what happens in the childbirth process,” said Ruef.
Additional classes are scheduled for Jan. 14, 21 and 28, and the series will be held quarterly throughout the year, Harlan and Ruef said.
Topics will include relaxation and breathing techniques, labor and delivery preparation, pain management, breastfeeding, newborn care and a hospital tour.
Helping moms-to-be better understand the birthing process is key in alleviating fear and stress, Ruef said.
“If you’re unprepared, it can be very scary,” she said, “and that fear can influence the process.”
Pain management practices include non-pharmacological techniques that include relaxation, massage and breathing methods. On the medicinal end, the duo will provide information on medications available, along with risks versus benefits.
On a related note, Lake Health District and Lake County Public Health recently endeavored on a collaborative follow-up effort for new families.
New Family Follow-Up
Following the birth of a new child, the hospital will forward contact information for a family to public health. Following an initial phone call, public health will check up with the newborn within three to five days after birth, and then again two weeks after birth.
Criteria examined at this time include weight and hearing examinations, Harlan and Ruef said.
The 10-day period following birth is a critical time, as new babies typically lose a minimal amount of weight shortly thereafter. This checkup helps assure they are on track to regaining their birth weight.
Early follow-up is critical prior to the 6-month mark, she said, so that any potential issues may be addressed, such as a severe hearing deficiency.
For more information, call Lake County Public Health at 541-947-6045, or visit www.lakehealthdistrict.org.