One of the ways UAB’s Women and Infants Services is reaching out to employees and to the community is by offering a variety of classes aimed at improving the quality of life for you and your family.

UAB Registered Nurse Susan Thompson (second from left) explains some of the finer points of labor to expectant parents Chelse Brandon, Alicia Halterman, Jennifer Thomas and Tymaine Whitaker during a recent class. UAB’s Women and Infants Services sponsors classes like this one on campus and in surrounding communities.

Freda Centor, a clinical nurse specialist in Women and Infants Services, coordinates community education for women. Among the patient education offerings available at UAB and around the Birmingham metro area are Prenatal Yoga classes, Infant Massage classes, Happiest Baby on the Block classes, classes for adoptive parents, classes geared toward moms-to-be in the Spanish-speaking community, a Newborn ICU discharge class, and Girl Talk, a class for parents and preteen girls. The class list also includes the traditional prenatal classes for expectant parents like the New Life childbirth series, Breastfeeding, and Infant CPR.

“What we really are trying to do is look at what the community might want and offer it to them,” Centor says. “We’re very open to ideas and trying to meet the needs of the community, whatever they might be, and UAB employees are especially important to us in that regard.”

Many of the classes offered have become very popular.

Girl Talk focuses on what to expect before puberty and has shown to be particularly helpful to both the child and mother. “It’s a great class not only in what they learn, but also because it opens up the lines of communication between the parent and the child,” Centor says. “It’s a way for them to become comfortable talking about sometimes sensitive topics.”

A new class is being offered for adoptive parents. Madonna Nichols, director of Women and Infants Services, is particularly fond of the class. Nichols and her husband have adopted five children. Support groups and educational avenues for parents who adopt haven’t always been around. Nichols points out many adoptive parents are becoming parents for the first time and have some of the same questions and concerns as biological parents.

“There was nothing we could go to, no classes or anything, when we were first going through the adoption process,” Nichols says. “Everything was for pregnant mothers. This class gives a great amount of support to those who are adopting a child.”

The childbirth education classes for pregnant Hispanic moms and their support person also have begun to take off. The classes for Happiest Baby on the Block and Newborn ICU discharge are also very popular.
The Newborn ICU Parent Support Program, funded in part by a grant from the March of Dimes, educates parents who have children in the unit, whether it’s going to be for an extended period or just a short time.

Materials have been provided that help explain many of the terms doctors or nurses use in association with the unit to help parents. Other information, such as developmental charts, also is provided to parents.

“That program has just exploded,” Centor says. “It’s just been a wonderful experience for these parents. A lot of these materials were produced with the help of parents who formerly had children in the NICU. It’s given us value added stuff for families that you just can’t measure.”

The Happiest Baby on the Block class, based on the best-selling book by Dr. Harvey Karp, and the Prenatal Yoga class are both held off campus in the community, something Centor and Nichols hope to have more of in the future.

If you would like to learn more about these and other classes offered in Women and Infants Services, call 996-BABY or visit .