Childbirth & Parenting Education
by Anne E. O’Malley
As natural as birthing a child may be, moms and dads don’t have all the answers — and certainly not their first time around. That leaves a big learning curve, and Magdalena “Nena” Yniguez, certified childbirth educator (CCE), certified lactation specialist (CLS) and patient care services representative at Wilcox Memorial Hospital has made it her life’s work to fill in the blanks.
“Knowledge is power, and if you can have power and knowledge before coming into delivery, whether here at Wilcox, or at Home Birth Kaua`i or at KVMH, you will be prepared and have the right tools,” says the educator with 16 years’ experience.
She teaches “Childbirth & Parenting,” a six-week course held at the hospital that covers the gamut of what parents-to-be need to know. Week one covers discomfort and warning signs.
Says Yniguez, referring to a recent incident, “A couple having their first child — she was 35 weeks pregnant — went home after the first class and she felt something was wrong, returned to the hospital in pre-term labor and had her baby.”
The woman wrote a letter expressing her gratitude for what she learned in that first class. Yniguez says the new mother wrote that without the information she learned in that first class, “My baby may not have made it.”
During the six weeks, couples learn about Cesarean birth, newborns, medications and hospital procedures, labor and delivery, postpartum and breastfeeding. Yniguez teaches everything from exercise and breathing techniques to labor and delivery and breastfeeding.
Yniguez stays linked with couples usually until a couple of months after the infant’s birth, and is available by phone or visit.
“We have a walk-in clinic,” she says. “Whether it’s breastfeeding, postpartum blues, feeling overwhelmed — whatever it is they need, we’re open to talking to them.
“We can connect them to other mommies and hopefully, they can form play groups or small support groups. By two and three months after giving birth, mommies are doing good on their own and have met people with similar issues.”
The breadth of education in this course is a far cry from when Yniguez had the first of her three children nearly 30 years ago. There was Lamaze class and that was it.
“They didn’t talk about labor directly, or about exercise. It was more about breathing,” she says.
She vowed she could do better. After her third child, she returned to get her education.
“It made a difference in my life,” she says.
Through Wilcox, Yniguez also offers breastfeeding support services and consultation, and is primarily involved with that aspect of motherhood during the week.
“I work with mommies who are breastfeeding, helping them make sure baby is latching properly and feeding every two to three hours and that the milk supply is good,” she says.
So dedicated is Yniguez to the value of breastfeeding, she says, “I want to lead my life as an example for my children.” So far, one daughter has had a child and breastfed for a year and has another on its way.
Wilcox charges $100 for its six-week Childbirth & Parent Education series and $50 per session for breastfeeding support services and consultation. Yniguez says if someone calls needing financial help, there are possible avenues to take.
“This is a nonprofit hospital, but we have connections to grant money and will always help people who can’t pay.”
For information, email yniguez at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 245-1441.