When I first found out we were having a baby, I tried to get myself prepared by reading online forums and blogs about what to expect. When I couldn't figure out if people's advice was legit or not, I decided that the problem was that the internet has too much information. So I turned to books. Well, I actually turned to ebooks.
Since we already had a whole bunch of really good books and I really wanted an ebook, I decided to get What's Going On In There?. The book goes through the development of a child's brain from conception until a few years of age. It's really interesting and really comprehensive. I quite liked the book, but the problem was that I wasn't really learning anything practical.
Then one day Yilin asked if I wanted to take birthing classes. I was a little hesitant at first, but I knew that the only way for me to learn would be if I purposely set aside time to prepare. We (read: Yilin) chose the Bradley method for their emphasis on natural birthing techniques and the role that the father plays during delivery.
There's so much that a mother experiences during pregancy and labor that, as a father, it's hard to feel like there's anything you can do to help. The Bradley method teaches the father how he can play a part in labor. Everything from relaxation techniques, birthing positions, and emotional support.
I basically started the class not knowing anything, but going through the class taught me how to get the mother to relax, rest, eat right, and physically prepare herself for labor. Of course we also watched numerous birthing videos, which I feel helped to mentally prepare me for what to visually expect during the last stages of labor. The best part of the class, however, were the scenarios where the instructor would describe something and we'd have to determine what stage of labor we were in. There were also some scenarios where the mother would have to act out a part and the fathers would have to tell her what she's doing wrong.
Overall, I highly recommend the Brdley method. It encourages a natural brith that's aided by a father coach. Plus, at the end of the class they hold a little graduation and give all the fathers little certification for completing the classes. I haven't felt so happy to receive a certificate of completion since the fifth grade!