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March 18, 2016
Gillian Ottman 492-5023

Upstate introduces online parenting classes for expectant parents

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Upstate University Hospital has launched a new way for expectant parents to access prenatal, childbirth and new family education. Upstate Best Beginnings, offered by the health education department, now includes online learning in addition to in-person classes on a wide variety of topics that have recently expanded.

“It is our goal to educate expectant parents on prenatal and newborn care,” said health educator Cathy Narcavage-Bradley, RN. “The new online classroom serves as yet another way for us to reach more people and share this vital information.”

The new online education program for expectant parents is a self-paced, interactive education program that can be completed from home on a computer or mobile device. The virtual classroom offers eight learning sessions that cover pregnancy, labor, birth stories, comfort techniques, medical procedures, Cesarean birth, newborn and postpartum care. Within each of these sessions, expectant parents have access to interactive tools, videos and customizable guides.

The new in-person classes offered by Upstate Best Beginnings are My New Sibling and Baby & Me. New this year, the siblings class is specially designed for children two through 10 years of age with a parent or caregiver. The class helps children prepare for the birth of a new sibling with a focus on the positive changes to the family and the sibling’s role in caring for a newborn. Baby & Me is a three-week series that connects new parents and caregivers with babies (ages two weeks to six months) to review child development, sleep patterns, infant feeding, childhood immunizations, infant safety, infant care, play time and positive parenting strategies.

Upstate Best Beginnings also offers an in-person Expectant Parent Program class that is available as a four-week class, weekend class or refresher class for repeat parents. The classes are taught by nurse educators who review labor, relaxation and breathing techniques, medication options, interventions, hospital procedures and the role of the support person.

The in-person classes are hosted throughout the year, and a calendar of sessions is available online or by calling 464-2756. Complementary to the Best Beginnings classes, participants have round-the-clock access to the Upstate Women’s Health nurse phone line to ask questions about prenatal and newborn care.

The online education tool costs $85 and includes access to in-person classes, including newborn care, breastfeeding and hospital orientation tour­, offered by the health education department at the Community Campus. The cost for the Expectant Parent Program in-person class costs $55 for the refresher course, $95 for the weekend class, and $85 for the four-week evening course.

Courtesy of The Advocates for Upstate Medical University, financial assistance is available to expectant parents to help pay for online and in-person Upstate Best Beginnings classes.

Upstate Best Beginnings educational classes are presented by the health education department in collaboration with Upstate Women’s Health and the Jim and DeDe Walsh Family Birth Center.

To learn more about the program’s childbirth and new family classes, call 315-464-2756.

Caption: Health Educator Cathy Narcavage-Bradley, RN, teaches in-person educational classes through Upstate Best Beginnings. In February, the program expanded to offer online classes, which educate expectant parents on prenatal and newborn care.

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