Yes – childbirth classes are still a thing!
I know we are now accustomed to Googling and using the Internet to find information. And while those are definitely a resource, taking a childbirth class in person is still a great option.
I attended a 10-week childbirth class when I was pregnant for the first time. Jennifer, our instructor, was enthusiastic about natural birth and shared honest information. Her classes were fun and enlightening. I was blown away by how much there was to learn and how much more prepared I felt. I made lifelong friends with whom I’m still in contact today. I remained friends with and visited Jennifer after my son was born. I am certain that the seeds planted by Jennifer contributed to my own passion in this area. The knowledge, fire and friendships that she shared with her students had a lasting impact on us. There were at least three other students of hers that went on to become birth workers and many other families that had positive birth experiences after taking her classes. Not all classes have to be 10 weeks long. You can still pack a lot of really useful information into just two or three classes.
Here are reasons we recommend childbirth classes:
1. A certified childbirth educator will share evidence-based facts.
Sometimes wading through articles on the Internet can be scary. How do we know what is accurate or not? New research and studies result in changing recommendations. Your instructor will have a well-prepared, credible curriculum. She will be up to date on the latest research.
2. A certified childbirth educator is trained in working with adult learners. She has tools to help you digest and interact with the data so you really grasp it. To this day, I still have pieces of wisdom that I attribute to my first childbirth class series.
3. Learn things you never knew about labor, birth and postpartum. Childbirth classes will prepare you with how to identify the signs of labor, what happens as your baby makes her way into the world, the phases and stages of labor.
4. Address your fears and gain confidence. This is a chance to talk about your fears with the instructor or other students. Maybe they have similar fears? The instructor can dispel myths, answer questions and help put your mind at ease.
5. A chance for your partner to understand childbirth too – and how to support you during labor. Your partner has a very important role. Childbirth classes are an opportunity to connect and learn how to work together during labor.
6. Discuss options for handling pain and beneficial comfort measures. You’ll practice methods for coping such as breathing, relaxation, positioning and visualization.
7. Learn about common medications. Find out the pros and cons of nitrous oxide, narcotic analgesics and epidurals.
8. Get the basics on medical interventions. IV fluids, rupture of membranes, induction, electronic fetal monitoring. How might they influence labor?
9. Learn about cesarean birth. Understanding the procedure will help you be prepared in the event that a cesarean is needed.
10. Find out about newborn exams and procedures. Vaccines, eye ointment, vitamin K, APGAR, tests. What are they for and why?
11. Learn about newborn care. Common topics include: breastfeeding, diapering, comforting and bathing.
12. Create a social network. In a group setting, you will meet other pregnant couples, listen and share experiences. Not all classes are created equally. The personality and teaching styles of instructors also vary. Interview potential instructors to find somebody that you feel comfortable with and trust. Better yet, get recommendations and positive reviews from others too. We are proud to offer some wonderful childbirth classes here at Buddha Belly. Contact us to get started!