When you find out you’re pregnant, it is important that you begin to prepare yourself and your partner for the birth. The birth of your child is exciting and can sometimes be a scary thing, especially if you have never experienced it before. Signing up and taking a birthing class is highly recommended to help prepare and ease your nerves and your partner’s nerves.
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There are several different birthing classes available, and some great benefits for attending a birthing class include:
Childbirth classes help build your confidence in your body’s ability to give birth.
- You can discuss your fears about labor and birth with the instructor and other couples with the same concerns.
- Your husband or partner will learn about childbirth and how to support you on the big day. You may want to attend the classes together.
- Your instructor will discuss pain relief options, including massage, relaxation, breathing techniques, and medications that will be available or may be used.
- A tour of your birthing facility during class will give you the opportunity to see the staff in action. This is a great time to ask your instructor about routine practices, such as electronic fetal monitoring and freedom of movement during labor.
HypnoBirthing has become a more popular way to stay calm and focused during childbirth. It is a calm and natural way for the mother to connect deeply through hypnotic relaxation techniques. The hypnobirthing process focuses on special breathing, relaxation and visualization. Intense relaxation will enhance natural birthing instincts that lead to a calm and serene birth experience. The curriculum also teaches women how to experience a feeling similar to daydreaming, while remaining controlled and happy during labor and birth.
The Bradley Method
The Bradley Method teaches natural childbirth. The Bradley Method believes that if mother is educated and prepared properly, they can give birth naturally. This 12-week class may include:
- Importance of nutrition and exercise
- Relaxation techniques to manage pain
- Labor rehearsals
- How to avoid a cesarean birth
- Postpartum care
- Guidance for a doula about supporting and advocating for the mother
The Lamaze Method
The Lamaze Method is a classic birthing preparation that has been around for years. This method focuses mainly on breathing methods to help with pain during child labor. Lamaze International uses a contemporary curriculum that supports birth as normal, natural, and healthy, and empowers expectant women and their partners to make informed decisions. The class may include:
- Normal labor, birth, and early postpartum period
- Positioning for labor and birth
- Relaxation and massage techniques to alleviate pain
- Labor support
- Communication skills
- Information about medical procedures
- Healthy lifestyle
Birthing From Within
Birthing From Within prepares mothers to give “birth-in-awareness,” not to achieve a specific birth outcome. The class curriculum is adjusted to meet the specific needs and differences of parents. This method also recognizes that pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period involve continuous learning. Holistic support and education should be available throughout this time.
The International Childbirth Education Association
The International Childbirth Education Association trains and certifies educators to be advocates of the natural process of childbirth.
There are several places to look to find the perfect childbirth class for you and your partner including:
- Your physician or hospital
- Family and friends
- Pregnancy centers
- Specific childbirth education organizations
- Community resource centers
The best way to choose the right birthing class for you and your partner include:
- Know what you want to try and achieve during your birth
- Ask the instructor questions
- How much does it cost?
- How long is this class? Will you be able to attend all sessions?
- What are other women’s opinions of this class and method?
You can always take more then one class to learn about all different methods. Also, if you hire a doula, talking to your doula or even including them in your birthing classes may be a great idea. It is always great to make sure your doula is on the same page as you, and knows what you are learning and what you are hoping to achieve during your labor and birth.
Overall, there is no right or wrong birthing class to take. Every expectant woman should take a birthing class so they know what to expect, same with their partner. Childbirth can be an exciting and also very nervous thing if you have never experienced it before. Attending a birthing class will help nerves and better prepare you for a successful and calm birth.