We completed our childbirth course earlier this month. Let’s do a short recap of the course and what we thought of it.
We first heard of the ParentCraft Childbirth Course when we signed up for the FBI. Being first time parents, the course sounded interesting and useful indeed. We decided that we should sign up and learn some tips about taking care of baby.
We went ahead and reserved our class once past the crucial week 20 detailed scan. We initially booked a random class that started in October which suited our timings. However, a few weeks later, while visiting a friend who had just given birth, he explained that we should attend the class conducted by Mrs Wong Boh Boi as she was the most experienced instructor for the course. Oh… So, we went back to ParentCraft to ask for a change of class. Luckily there was no extra charge. But the next available class would be in November. And due to the Christmas and New Year holidays, the last lesson would end in January. Well, Dear2 would be in her 3rd trimester by then but we thought it would be worth the wait since we got Mrs Wong as our instructor.
The course was divided into 6 lessons. Lesson 1 focused on some exercises and the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy, as well as food and nutrition. Lesson 2 also have some exercises and some breathing and relaxation techniques. Lesson 3 was an interesting and important one on the entire labour process, and there were exercises too. Lesson 4 was on child care techniques such as carrying the baby, bathing, burping, folding of nappy, etc. Lesson 5 was dedicated to breastfeeding. And lesson 6 was a seminar talk by two doctors – an obstetrician and a pediatrician.
Now, what do we think of this course. Let’s first look at the cost, $192.60 for 6 lessons, attended by 2 adults. That’s $32.10 per lesson, or $16.05 per adult per lesson, or $6.42 per hour per adult per lesson (assuming 2.5 hrs per lesson). It may sound cheap, but note that the class size was very large, about 30 couples or more. Mrs Wong also commented that her class will be more expensive starting from 2010 to encourage more couples to go for other class. I guess this meant that she’s really popular.
Our class was held at a play school in AMK Hub. I would think that the venue is a little too small for the number of couples there. When we were doing the exercises, there was hardly room for the mummies to lie down and the daddies beside. When it comes to Mrs Wong doing her demonstrations, it was hard to see what she was doing as everyone gathered in a big crowd around her.
About the projector and powerpoint slides. Somehow, the projector was always giving problems during our course. Most notably, the colours cannot be reproduced properly. This led to much difficulty in reading the slides and making sense of the pictures. Personally, I don’t think this is acceptable. Imagine paying to watch a movie with the colours all wrong.
Next up is the ‘lecture’ notes, or rather the lack of. Yes, some may argue that we can always copy down the important things on paper. But I feel that in teaching, notes should always be made available to the students. The students can then focus on taking down details or insights that the lecturer provides to supplement what is already printed on the notes. Students should be listening and understanding, not copying.
About the exercises. We hardly practice any of the exercises at home. The reason being, we can’t remember all of them. There were a lot of exercises being taught, some of them form a natural head to toe total body workout which I can see will be very useful to mum-to-be’s. But no notes or videos were given. Urgh. And the textbook wasn’t very helpful when it came to the exercises.
I dunno how the other couples think about this course, but this is my opinion. It is definitely an informative course. We learnt many things from Mrs Wong through her sharing of her many many years of experiences. But, I can’t help but feel that this course can be so much more. That is, the couples attending this course be benefit much more if more effort can be made by the organizers. This course should not be conducted in a seminar style way where people listen and then forget a few days later. At the least, there should be a set of detailed instructions on the exercises routine and suggestions of intensity levels at the different stages of pregnancy.
Before I end, I should give credit to the pediatrician from lesson 6, Dr. Ong Eng Keow. His talk was well supplemented by a small booklet “A Parents’ Guide To Newborn Babies”, distributed to all couples before the talk began. The important points of his presentation were all summarized in this guide for couples to take home and refer to should they forget points afterwards.
Still, despite the overall negative comments in this post, I feel that the ParentCraft Childbirth Course had been very useful and well worth the money for first time parents. We’ve learnt a lot about (untrue) old wives’ tales, malpractices by secondary caregivers (maids and confinement ladies), and first aid tips for both mummy and baby. And it’s a good bonding session for couples to attend a course and learn something together. However, this course definitely has plenty of room for improvement.