It will factor in the possibility that you may have never held a baby in your life. Classes include everything from learning how to hold a baby, to how to bathe it, to breathing techniques (for yourself) that can ensure a painless labour. Many private nursing homes and baby-friendly hospitals in the metros offer these courses.
From Priyanka Gandhi and Manpreet Brar to the girl next door in south Delhi, many to-be mums are signing up at Nutan Pandit’s classes. One Friday evening, we find her students sitting on the floor around her at her residence. As Pandit counts, 12 glowing, pregnant women practice Lamaze breathing techniques, which will help them relax and enjoy a painless labour. Only two don’t have their husbands with them—the rest of the men are gripping their wives’ pulse points with much concentration, helping them count. They also take frantic notes when Pandit shares a chocolate cake recipe on her blackboard.
Pandit believes in uninduced, natural labour. "Twenty years ago we were trying to catch up with the West; now they are doing what we did 50 years ago," she says. New-age, as and music, is now retro. Natural birth, water births, breathing hard to de-stress and early contact with baby are buzzwords now.
Experts recommend parents start communicating with the child inside the womb. Research in the new field of prenatal psychology says that babies in the womb hear what’s going on outside. Babies may share in their mothers’ emotions as well. When the mother is happy, baby is happy; when mother is anxious, baby is too.
Prenatal psychologists also say a foetus can form attitudes about life. There is indeed some connection between what a mother thinks and how her baby feels, and that from six months on an unborn baby can share the mother’s emotions via the hormones.
Professor Peter Hepper at the School of Psychology, Queen’s University, Belfast, has found that babies whose mothers had regularly watched a television soap during pregnancy responded to the musical theme after they were born.
Other research finds that rock music agitates babies, who kick violently when they hear it, and classical music calms them. In one study, kicking babies calmed to the sounds of Vivaldi but became agitated when Beethoven played. Apparently, Mozart can help develop math skills in babies: pregnant women are buying Mozart kits to invest in their child’s future.
Plenty of Indian themes are also available from every major music company. While the Geeta and the Ramayana are highly recommended, the Mahabharata is strictly out, especially in North India.