Why should I take childbirth classes?
I encourage ALL families to take a childbirth preparation class. There are a number of different types of classes available nowadays, which is great since it allows families to pick the class best suited to their needs. My classes are focused on sharing evidence based research so that you know and understand your options, you understand the progression of labor, and so that you are prepared for the postpartum period.
What's Normal and What's Not?
First time parents, especially, can feel unprepared for labor as it is something completely new! In our culture/society most birth takes place in the hospital and most people have never see a labor/birth before they are faced with their own. Unknowns are terrifying! Even repeat parents can feel unprepared for a looming birth as it is well known that "every pregnancy and every labor is different." Previous birth experience can also cause some fear in repeat parents. Childbirth classes can help parents understand the normal progression of labor, understand the difference between normal pain and labor pain, how to cope with the pain. I always say that even if you plan on using pain medication you should learn some comfort measures to help keep you comfortable until you can receive your chosen medication.
Know Your Options
What is Informed Consent?
Childbirth education is vital to understanding that you have OPTIONS during your birth. You have a say in what happens during your birth experience. The more educated you are about your options during labor and birth, the more you will be able to remain in the conversation during your labor and birth. If something from your birth plan needs to change you will be equipped to handle that discussion. Childbirth education can teach you the difference between informed consent and implied consent, and how to ask the right questions so that you can give truly, fully, informed consent. With these skills you can better advocate for your wants and needs during YOUR birth experience.
After the Birth
Preparing for Postpartum
Preparing for the postpartum time is just as important as preparing for the birth. This seems to be something we gloss over when talking to expecting families. Maybe we are trying to spare them from some of the grosser details (your baby will poop on you at some point, I promise!), but that doesn't prepare parents for what to expect and how to cope with all the changes. A good childbirth class will cover the postpartum period too!