Monday, February 9, 2009

Childbirth 101

One of my best memories of pregnancy with my first child was going to the birthing class. My husband and I chose a weekly class that met in the evenings during the last few weeks of my pregnancy. The class was pretty basic and covered the gamut of having a baby. We watched a video of a lady giving birth, we practiced breathing exercises, labor massages, and discussed the basics of what it would be like to go through labor in terms of a hospital delivery. It was just like out of a tv episode. My husband and I showed up with our pillow. We chatted with other couples and excitement and anticipation sizzled through our group when one of our members stopped coming because she had delivered her baby!
I enjoyed the class and found it helpful and with my next 3 children I didn't even take a refresher course. Mainly because with other kids in the picture who has the time??
At the time I didn't even think there were other options. I just went to my doctor when I found out I was pregnant and they kind of took the reigns from there. In terms of the class I chose, my doctor asked which hospital I was going to deliver at and gave me a list of classes my hospital offered. I didn't even think that there were other methods, other ways of delivering my baby.
My sister as I mentioned in a previous post is expecting her first baby and she asked what our thoughts were on the whole birthing class idea. This is a great question and not really an easy one. There are a TON of different types of classes that you can take while pregnant to prepare for your labor and birth. Not only are there classes for that, but on parenting and nursing as well.
One thing I would do differently if I could go back in time is to take a nursing/breastfeeding class. I figured nursing would just come naturally to me and I would automatically know how to do it, so I just passed on that option. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way, breastfeeding doesn't come naturally for everyone. If you worry at all about that part of welcoming your little one, La Leche, is a great resource for that.

In terms of different childbirth classes, you can take any or all of the following:
-general childbirth classes
-Lamaze classes
-Bradley method classes
-Hypno-birth classes
-Waterbirth classes

You can find these classes in a variety of ways:
-through friends and family
-through your care provider (doctor, midwife, doula)
-through your local hospital
-through local birth centers
-via internet

Our advice about which classes to take and when. . .
1)Figure out what kind of birth you want to have
2)Think about what you are most nervous about
3)Chat with your caregiver
5)Figure out what would work best with your schedule, such as weekly, a one time intensive class, or whatever


Make your choice. There are so many variables, this really is going to be different for everyone.

Here are some sites that may help in your decision:

If anyone else out there has some good suggestions or a story about a birthing class you have taken, please share it with us by posting a comment!

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