Why enroll in a childbirth classes? Read on to find out why. It’s important!
There are many childbirth education programs. Two of the most popular are Lamaze (R) classes and the Bradley(R) method. Although other childbirth education programs such as Birthing from Within (R), and Birth Works (R) are worth looking into as well.
You will find as you research what kind of class you’d like to enroll in that content is similar when comparing birthing techniques and labor comfort measures. It’s the philosophy of the organization that differs.
There’s only two physical ways to have a baby: vaginal or Cesarean birth – and that’s universal. It’s culture and attitudes that makes childbirth so different and personal.
So. Why enroll in a childbirth class?
- It’s the smart thing to do – get educated! As you learn about and understand the normal changes in your body during pregnancy, the more comfortable and accepting of those changes you’ll become. Childbirth classes will give you basic information in anatomy and physiology of pregnancy and labor, and how the labor process works. You’ll learn how organized and temporary the labor process is. You’ll learn what to expect and how to manage it. The best though, is learning HOW you and your baby make the process of labor and birth happen together as a team! It’s awesome! I know, this sounds really corney, but it’s true – your body has a “blueprint”, a plan to follow, and is totally EQUIPPED with everything it needs to accomplish this normal, incredible, physiological process.
- Labor is physical – just like sex (Instead of orgasm, you get a baby)! There’s physical effort involved which uses energy, can be exhausting, and can be quite uncomfortable at the same time – yet rewarding! The prize is that little new life you just brought into the world! Another prize is experiencing the strength within you and feeling amazed at what you just accomplished! Childbirth classes teach you comfort measures, tools to use to ease discomfort or “labor pain”, how to conserve energy, how to create an environment that is calming for you to birth in, and how to cope with the physical process of birth – all of which contributes to a manageable labor! Labor IS manageable!
- Your experience will be unique! Childbirth classes explore your individuality and encourages you to do what is best for you. You and your partner will learn about options in pain management and medical procedures used that can influence your birth experience. Communication skills are explored as well so that you are informed and can express your wishes to your health care providers, as well as your partner. Knowing your concerns ahead of time, your needs, and options are important. Communicating them to your healthcare provider helps to ensure your needs are met. But, you need to explore, learn, and know what they are first. Having said that, I now recommend enrolling in birthing classes outside the hospital environment. In other words, avoid taking birth classes in a hospital because it is a “medical” facility and focus on medical interventions in maternity care. There fore, there is a higher rate of medical interventions being used. There are plenty of professional childbirth educators and Doulas who also teach where you’ll get more information on choices available to you. Birth is not a medical event. It has been turned into one over the past 100 years.
- There are “traditional” patterned breathing techniques that have been taught to couples since the 1950’s. These are still taught in childbirth classes yet outdated. There is new thinking about them and how they can increase hyperventilating in laboring women. This compromises oxygenation to mother and baby. Slow breathing is and works the best. If you are taught the traditional breathing methods, use the one that works best for you. Always err on the side of slow. That’s the rule now. Breathing styles for labor are discussed on this website, but remember – there is no right or wrong way to breathe to birth your baby – only what’s best and feels good to you at the moment. And this you’ll know when the time comes.
- Labor is emotional.We are so much smarter than we were 100 or a thousand years ago. We know now that through current research that our thoughts and emotions affect our health and even the labor process. Emotions have the ability to release the “stress response” or elicit the “relaxation response”. Which do you think is a better emotional state for a women in labor? That’s right – relaxed. Modalities such as hypnosis, meditation, guided imagery combined with slow breathing all help to facilitate the birth process as well as decrease “labor pain”. And, that’s a fact. Childbirth classes are just beginning to bring complementary methods for stress reduction and pain management into the labor room with great success. The more you learn and incorporate mind/body practices in preparing for birth, the better for you emotionally, physically, and for your baby.
You have lots to look forward to. Don’t wait until the last month or few weeks of your pregnancy to sign-up for a childbirth class. You are short-changing yourself . Invest in the education, you’ll be glad you did.