Which is Better Hospital or Internet Childbirth Classes
Most childbirth classes are held in a hospital environment. However, these classes tend to be uniform in content and reflect the hospital’s position on epidurals and medical procedures.
This is sometimes challenging for the childbirth educator as their teaching philosophy may go against the grain of the hospital’s policies. For this reason, going to an outside source via a private class, or a class on the internet is a better option for expectant couples where information will not be withheld and taught by a qualified instructor: RN and/or Certified Childbirth Educator.
For example, it is well known that the cesarean rate has increased dramatically nationally. Yet, hospitals and physicians are not comfortable sharing their cesarean statistics with “patients” nor are instructors encouraged to discuss this openly in a hospital based childbirth class (even though couples are well aware of the rising numbers by researching it online).
The problem with hospital based childbirth education is this: It’s a medical model of managing a woman’s pregnancy and labor with medical technology. If a woman is guided towards a traditional obstetrician, she will be moved into a care model that may not embrace her personal wishes on how she’d like to birth her baby. Once she is on this “medical” path her education about preparing for birth is limited to the education provided by hospitals or her physician.
The Internet provides a wealth of information in preparing for childbirth. Couples can find a variety of classes with different philosophies that meet their personal values online.
Thought: Labor is manageable. It takes a new way to confront it which depends on the expectant mother’s attitudes and belief in her own abilities to experience labor
Online childbirth education is more informative and frees expectant families to really explore what they want and how to get it through online technology – webinars, YouTube, conference calls, etc., make childbirth education not only more informative, but very accessible. Even for the woman who is on bed-rest, or the mom who lives in a rural community and can’t get to a childbirth class.
Online education provides incredible flexibility in when a couple may take a class. There is also the financial commitment. Certainly an online childbirth class will save time, money, and gas – three very important factors to consider during economical challenges.
Some couples when they go to a “live” class in a hospital, they like to meet other couples who are expecting also. It is a unique time of bonding and establishing the “I am not alone ” feeling with other women. Also many classes may include a tour of their birthing facility which would not happen with an online class.
However, with the rise in social networking, sites devoted to just moms exchanging ideas, experiences, and wisdom, the live class may become obsolete. Yet the one most necessary factor that will always remain an important constant, is human contact.
The gentle, understanding touch on the arm, a message signaling everything will be alright, physical practice of techniques such as breathing, relaxation, and positioning, etc. Childbirth is physical and emotional.
Hands-on practice prepares a couple for birth. One can read all they want on “preparing” for childbirth. But the reality is birth won’t happen through an iPod. The birthing process requires human, physical involvement, support, and patience.
“Live” classes will continue in hospitals, but if you want the opportunity to explore childbirth classes that are more informative, meet your needs and values, it is best to seek them outside the hospital environment.
Keep this in mind – some hospitals are changing the policies of maternity care. They are becoming more “natural” in monitoring labor. For example, laboring women are encouraged to move around more in upright positions using gravity, changing positions BEFORE receiving an epidural. This is good because it gives the body an opportunity to move into labor on its own.
Lamaze International favors these six principles in managing labor:
- Labor should start on its own. Meaning, allowing time and patience for labor to begin without intervention
- Waiting for a woman to experience the “Urge to Push” which signals the pushing phase of labor, and use spontaneous pushing with no breath holding
- Encouraging movement. Changing positions, walking, and not having a laboring woman’s movement be restricted
- Encouraging skin-to-skin, keeping mother and baby together during the hospital stay, also very helpful for breastfeeding
- Enlisting support from a Doula, or family member besides the main support person
- Avoiding medication interventions as much as possible
And these are all actions hospitals can implement for expectant mothers coming to their facility. So, call the facility you’re planning to have your baby and ask them if they honor the 6 principles above.