What About the Childbirth Education Classes?
Out of hospital Childbirth Education Classes vary in their content, but share one great point. Having the class out of the hospital gives you the benefit that you will not be taught “how to be a Good Patient.” In this series of ten classes, you will learn a great deal about consumerism…about how to communicate with your healthcare provider; how to determine whether you are on the same page about your birth plan. An important and recurrent topic of discussion is your responsibility as a consumer to educate yourself, to put yourself in a place and with a practitioner where your expectations will be met, and to make sure that your needs are going to be met during the prenatal period, labor, and birth.
We will discuss (and put a great deal of emphasis on) how to be well during your pregnancy (through exercise and careful attention to diet), to ensure a healthier pregnancy, labor, and birth. We will discuss thoroughly ways to prepare for labor and birth through understanding of the physiology that takes place during the process, and preparing through practicing several different types of relaxation. Practicing the different styles of relaxation at home is a large part of your homework, and will add several tools to your tool kit during labor. Also, we cover breastfeeding, baby wearing, and how to cope with bringing a newborn home. We talk a great deal about resting and healing during the post partum period, also called, “The Baby Moon," and discuss ways to make that immediate post partum period easier on everybody.
During class and in reading your “homework,” you will find many resources, studies, and plenty of medical evidence to help you plan your ideal birth, and then support those choices with hard facts. It will also give you the basis to talk confidently with your healthcare provider, and to discuss your needs and expectations before and during your birth with your provider and any staff they may have. Our goal is to be absolutely sure that you have TRULY informed consent when you make choices related to your labor, birth, and post partum experience…because in normal healthy mothers, in their labors and their births, nearly EVERYTHING that happens is a choice…even if it is not presented as such.
We will read many articles and books that discuss peer reviewed and replicated studies related to pregnancy, childbirth, and the post partum period. We will listen to experts in the field about common practices surrounding labor and birth, and whether they are helpful or a hindrance to labor and birth and the well being of the mother/baby unit. We will watch a few births that didn't go quite as the mothers had hoped they would, and will discuss the possible reasons they experienced the outcomes they did.
We will watch *many* normal (as opposed to typical) births, to acclimate you to the sounds, movements, and “feel” of the birth experience. In our culture we have lost the “women with women” aspect of birth, and so most often women pregnant for the first time have never experienced another birth. One of the goals of this series is to normalize the concept of birth…to imprint on you what you would otherwise know from childhood--that birth is not an emergency, but a normal process that our bodies are more than capable of handling without crisis, because they are MADE to give birth!