The Benefits of Childbirth Preparation Classes
Every time I meet with a new client, I ask if she’s taken or plans to take a childbirth preparation course. Usually she says she’s thinking about but voices her concerns that the classes are too much of a time commitment, she hasn’t found something she likes, or the cost of the classes was prohibitive. And usually she gives me a sly smile and says something like, “That’s why I’m hiring you!”
I am flattered! Really I am! But I think that having a doula is not a substitute for a proper childbirth preparation course, though having a doula is certainly important! These classes, usually designed to take several weeks, offer insight on the birthing process, comfort techniques, and the community of other expecting parents.
For our first baby, my husband and I chose to take a Lamaze course offered by a woman in her home, for the duration of several weeks. We learned about birth, practiced some pain relief techniques, and on our last class we watched a DVD of a live birth. That was the first vaginal birth I saw!
Popular methods of childbirth preparation include The Bradley Method, Lamaze, Hypnobabies, Birthing From Within, and Hypnobirthing, but there are quite a few more on the market! Hospitals usually offer some sort of birth prep class, but I have heard that they lack the depth that other prepared courses give.
So how do you know which class is right for you? It’s wise to check out websites, blogs, and send an email or place a phone call to the teacher in order see which method you identify with; most methods hold different philosophies of birth. In addition, you should take into consideration the certification and experience of the teacher, when the classes are held, and how much they cost.
Recently I decided to put together a sort of “crash course” for my clients. Once I realized there was a demand, I put together my own quick childbirth education course based on Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn (4th Edition) by Simkin, Bolding, Keppler, Durham, and Whalley. My course focuses on how to prepare mentally and physically for birth, the stages of labor, and immediate postpartum care for Mom and Baby. At this point I don’t have a detailed section on comfort measures though I do discuss some of the more popular techniques I use for my clients, depending on their own personal labor. My course is designed to take only 2-3 hours, so it’s ideal for a refresher course for parents on subsequent babies, but will definitely be beneficial for parents who desire to have something quick instead of nothing at all!
Which method of childbirth prep is your favorite?