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Education series available for expectant parents

Maj. Kerry Van Orden wears an “empathy belly” to help him understand how it feels to be pregnant during the March 20 childbirth education session he attended with his wife, Capt. Stacey Van Orden.  They’re members of the 81st Medical Operations Squadron.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Steve Pivnick)

Maj. Kerry Van Orden wears an “empathy belly” to help him understand how it feels to be pregnant during the March 20 childbirth education session he attended with his wife, Capt. Stacey Van Orden. They’re members of the 81st Medical Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Steve Pivnick)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- A new childbirth education series is now available to first-time parents-to-be at Keesler Medical Center. 

Capt. Melony Valencia, 81st Inpatient Operations Squadron and a staff nurse in the medical center's new family birthing center, is teaching classes in the six-week-long program. The free classes are held Tuesdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the women's health clinic. 

"The first four weeks cover labor and birth, the fifth week covers post-partum and infant care and the sixth week is a breastfeeding class," Captain Valencia explained. "It's a very hands-on approach to childbirth. We teach a Lamaze-based approach to childbirth since I am the primary instructor and a certified Lamaze childbirth provider." 

All military members -- active, retired and dependents -- are eligible. The current series began March 13 and the next starts May 1. A sign-up sheet is located in the women's health clinic. Classes are limited to 12 couples.