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Alba Aguanno, RN, BScN, LCCE

Pregnancy, Birth, and Beyond
by David Stell

(Article originally appeared in  the Fall 2009 issue of Through Her Eyes, published by The Port Perry Star. Reprinted with permission.)

As a natural and logical choice, a great many parents-to-be have turned to Lamaze classes to prepare for that special day when their child is born. In north Durham an expert many have turned to and trusted for that training is Alba Aguanno.

The Registered Nurse brings more than 17 years experience to her training and has been teaching prenatal classes since 1993. Ms. Aguanno currently offers prenatal classes at Lakeridge Health Port Perry hospital. Here she continues to train classes while regularly working to develop her skills in prenatal education through advanced nursing education activities.

You might think for new parents the choice to participate in Lamaze training is a simple one, but there are some preconceived notions of this method of childbirth that Ms. Aguanno must dispel for those who are unsure of the benefits before taking the class.

“Perhaps the biggest misperception is that Lamaze classes are all about breathing techniques,” she explains. “On the first day of my two-day course, we focus on labour and delivery, we discuss signs of labour, drug-free coping techniques, pain management using drugs, caesarean birth, inducing labour, etc.”

This all-encompassing approach to preparing for childbirth also looks beyond the big day when the baby arrives.

“On the second day, we focus on the transition to parenthood, breastfeeding and what to expect the first few weeks or months at home with the baby,” she explains. “We also discuss and have a practical session on holding, handling, settling, diapering and bathing the baby.”

And this information is what makes the classes so meaningful for the participants. Ms. Aguanno uses her time in the classes to offer relevant parenting tools to participants, to set them up for success long after their visit to the hospital.

“I would like to make sure that people have the correct focus,” she says. “Labour lasts just a single day, while parenthood lasts a lifetime. It is very important that parents feel prepared for labour and delivery, having all the necessary information to make informed choices.

“However, I feel it is equally, if not more important, to feel prepared for parenting,” she adds. “I spend half of the course providing information on breastfeeding, safety, and the basic care of an infant, which allows parents to make informed choices when they take baby home.”

Teaching brings Ms. Aguanno many rewards and she takes pride in knowing Lamaze classes make a difference in the lives of the people she instructs.

I truly enjoy it when couples say that they feel better prepared for both labour and delivery and parenting as a result of my classes,” she admits. “These parents-to-be are out seeking the information and I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with them. It is also very satisfying to later get pictures of their new babies or e-mails describing their birthing experiences.”

Port Perry Lamaze is an affiliate of Durham Lamaze Associates. According to their website, they teach prenatal classes in Port Perry to assist clients from across Scugog and throughout north Durham. Ms. Aguanno is their principal instructor and they also draw from a broad pool of qualified instructors in the Durham Lamaze Associates organization.

Prenatal Classes are offered in different formats due to the fact people are very busy, the Port Perry Lamaze organization recognizes. The model of the traditional six- to eight-week series of prenatal classes is still offered occasionally but to meet the needs of local parents they offer a unique service here with a two-day prenatal series offered on weekends.

When considering at what point during pregnancy to take prenatal classes they recommend at least one month prior to your due date. They explain that you don’t want to schedule the classes too early in order to keep the material fresh in memory for your birthing day. Yet don’t take chances. To ensure the timing is right, it’s a good idea to register for your class well in advance.

Expect an intimate experience with small class sizes to provide more one-on-one opportunities to parents to learn everything and ask everything they need. And look forward to hearing from those who have benefited from the classes in thepast.

“I often have couples who have taken the course return with their new baby as guest speakers to talk to the new class of parents-to-be about their experiences in parenting,” Ms. Aguanno says. “Most couples find it helpful to learn about the realities of parenting from new parents.”

Ms. Aguanno has been granted the Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator designation by Lamaze International. She has taught for the Durham Region Health Department and is currently a prenatal educator for Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

For more information on Port Perry Lamaze and classes, visit portperrylamaze.com.

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