More than likely you have been introduced to the idea of childbirth classes from your OBGYN or midwife. Childbirth classes are designed to help expectant mothers know what to expect during labor and delivery and to familiarize patients with the hospital, procedures, as well as offer information about important aspects of your care. There are also childbirth classes designed for siblings, couples, and moms who want to learn proven, more natural techniques for childbirth. Whether or not you decide to take a class is very much a personal decision and should be made based on your needs, anxieties, and familial situation.’
Labor and delivery classes like Lamaze, help women learn how to make labor and delivery more comfortable for them. Typically, these classes last around 8 weeks and they consist of lectures, discussions, and birthing exercises. In order to get the most from your class make sure that it is being taught by a licensed instructor. Many of the people who lead these classes are doctors, midwives, doulas and other personnel trained in labor and delivery. Be sure to look at the curriculum of the class and make sure it encompasses all the areas that concern you. Most likely, these classes will go over signs of labor, techniques for coping with pain or anxiety, partner intervention and warning signs that there may be a problem with your pregnancy. You should be given plenty of reading materials that you can review at your leisure and use as a textbook to help you get though pregnancy.
Some childbirth classes begin in the first trimester of pregnancy. Others may only require you to join at the beginning of the third trimester. It is best to talk with your doctor or person in charge of the class to ascertain which class is best for you. For moms who have been in labor before, refresher classes are a great way to reacquaint your self with the trials and tribulations of labor.
In addition to learning about labor and delivery, childbirth classes can give you a wonderful heads up when it comes to baby care. Learning infant CPR, discussions about breast and bottle feeding as well as an introduction to the many issues certain to arise in infancy can make you feel more prepared and less frightened about caring for your baby.
Sibling and couple classes lend a wonderful opportunity for the family to become involved in the birth. Often, children are overlooked as birth comes near and normally the sibling classes offer even very young children an opportunity to see the birthing center and make a craft for their new baby to be. Children are also taught empowering ways that they can help mom and dad with the new baby as well as safety advice that is perfectly suited for their level.
Most often, you will find classes divided into several sections. Lamaze, the Bradley Method, ICEA classes, hypno-birthing classes, the Alexander Technique, BirthWorks, and spiritually driven classes are the most common. You may not find all of these within your area; however, by checking with yoga centers and other outlets you may find the offered. Understanding which one is best for you is vital to your success with the class you take.
The goal of Lamaze is to increase a woman’s confidence in giving birth. Often, fear plays a large part in pain management for women in labor and this class is designed to give you coping strategies and breathing techniques. One of the major points of this class as outlined by Lamaze International is to help women understand that birth is ‘normal, natural and healthy.’ One of the benefits to Lamaze is that they discuss both natural childbirth and the options for pain management during labor. This way the mom has all the tools necessary to give informed consent prior to delivery and knows what her options are going into delivery.
The Bradley Method is a completely natural child birthing class. The goal of this class is primarily to help women forego pain intervention techniques. These classes also focus a great deal of attention on pregnancy and optimum prenatal care that includes diet and exercise. They strongly suggest that health during pregnancy plays a significant role in the birthing process and the voidance of needing any intervention. ICEA classes are those certified by the International Childbirth Education Association. They are devoted to providing information, education and training programs for moms to be that encompass the full realm of childbirth and baby care. One benefit to this program is that they are not method stringent and are set up to provide information so you can make informed choices.
Other methods like Hypno-birthing, water birthing classes, yoga techniques, Birthing from Within or Birthworks rationalize the natural flow of your body in order to give birth. They each have different primary focuses and include a lot of deep breathing, meditative or yoga techniques that are designed to bring you into balance with your pregnancy and delivery. Yoga has long been a healthy way to prepare for labor and delivery and encompasses both prenatal breathing techniques as well as exercises designed for the pregnant body that are designed to make birth easier.
As you search for a childbirth class in your area, make sure that you join one appropriate to your vision. The main goal is to reduce anxiety by informing you. Many will show videos of natural childbirths, epidurals, and C-sections so that you do not enter into your birth without some previous knowledge. This heads up can go a long way in reducing fear of what is to come and can help you prepare a birthing plan that is specific to your wishes. You should also take a birthing or familiarization class offered at your local birthing center so that you are completely aware of standard operation procedures that will no doubt play a role in your birthing experience. Make sure you have a list of questions that you are prepared to ask and don’t be afraid to seek out special information if it applies to you.