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Expectant parents in the Mid-Valley are finding valuable information to help them prepare for the birth of their baby through free childbirth classes which are held at Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco.

Mothers and fathers can receive individualized instruction on the labor and delivery process / stages of labor / what to expect during labor, pain management options (such as epidurals, etc.), breathing techniques, baby care, the benefits of breastfeeding the baby, nutrition, exercise, fitness, and car seat safety through the “Family Birth Education Program” at the hospital.

Knapp Medical Center also offers a separate one-hour “Safe Rider Course” for expectant parents, with a free car seat available for families who meet income guidelines and complete the course. The free car seat safety classes are held on the second Tuesday and fourth Thursday of the month from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the hospital in Weslaco.

“The childbirth classes are very educational and they have helped me a lot,” said Merari Trevino of Weslaco, who gave birth to her second child, a baby girl named Lenah, at Knapp Medical Center on Nov. 27. “It’s a lot of good information.”

Mrs. Trevino’s husband, Israel said the classes are “a great teaching tool for us as young parents … a lot of it is information that we use and apply to our everyday lives, to make our life easier.”

Mr. and Mrs. Trevino added that the instructor for the classes, Olivia Estrada, RN, is very helpful, and that the Women’s Health Services staff at Knapp Medical Center are “very good and very well-equipped.”

“Many of our patients tell us that the childbirth classes have helped them with their labor,” said Ms. Estrada, who also serves as Director of Women’s Health Services for Knapp Medical Center.

As far as breastfeeding the baby, Ms. Estrada said Knapp Medical Center encourages new mothers to try “skin-to-skin” breastfeeding. The purpose of skin-to-skin is to encourage breastfeeding by placing the baby on mom’s chest area as soon as possible after birth.

In fact, the first hour after the baby is born, “the golden hour,” is the most critical time to encourage breastfeeding. Recognizing this, the labor-and-delivery and post-partum nurses at Knapp Medical Center strive to keep the baby with the mother as long as possible, Ms. Estrada added.

“Breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for our babies,” Ms. Estrada added. “It helps prevent ear infections, and allows the baby to bond more closely with the mother.”

The Women’s Services floor at Knapp Medical Center includes private Labor & Delivery birthing suites, private hospital rooms available to all patients after delivery, and a newborn nursery.

The childbirth classes are held on Monday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and are available in English or Spanish. For more information on the childbirth and car seat classes, along with other services for women at Knapp Medical Center, please call (956) 973-5351 or (956) 969-5360, or visit