For most pregnant women, the concept of giving birth for the first time can be overwhelming. When you start to show that beautiful baby bump, you are suddenly inundated by birth stories from so many other women. The entertainment world over dramatizes birth and your partner seems just as lost as you when it comes to finding good sources of information. All of that overload can lead anyone to have some pretty scary scenarios play out in their heads. What is the best way to calm those nerves? Join a childbirth education class.
We know that women who take childbirth education classes or develop a birth plan are 25% more likely to have vaginal births. Women that choose to have a natural birth are more likely to have shorter hospital stays, experience fewer instances of infection, and recover faster. Being able to deal with your concerns before your big day helps reduce the fear and stigma around your birth. So why choose natural childbirth?
#1 Build Your Confidence
Taking a childbirth education class helps you learn more about what your body is going through during pregnancy and birth. You’ll see videos, photos, models that will prepare you for what to expect during the end of pregnancy, labor, birth and postpartum periods. Through this process, you’ll be more prepared to deal with the changes in your body. Being prepared for these events will help you feel more empowered because you’ll know what to expect. This will give you more confidence by answering the many questions you may have that often come from fear or unease.
#2 Talk About Your Fear
For many women, being able to talk about what they are feeling is the greatest gift they can receive to help prepare them for birth. There are so many questions around the mind, body, spirit, and emotions that can snowball unless they are allowed some air to breathe. If nothing else, taking a childbirth class helps mommies get off their chests some of those significant concerns they may have been unwilling to voice before.
#3 Practice, Practice, Practice
Natural childbirth classes allow women to practice different techniques in pain management, positioning, and mental preparedness. Having time to go over what may come during birth is a great way to prevent your concerns from growing on the big day. Your instructor can guide you through the different pain relief options like massage, relaxation, breathing techniques, and positioning. These are essential tools that can be practiced before you give birth between you and your partner.
#4 Improving Your Partner Connection
No matter who will be joining you through your birth journey, taking a childbirth education class together will significantly improve your connection. Our birth partners often have many of the same concerns we have during our pregnancy, but are scared to voice them around you. Taking these classes together will answer help assuage these concerns and allow your partner to feel like they better understand their roles during your birth plan. You’ll get the opportunity to practice, grow, and prepare together to improve the chances of sticking to your birth plan.
#5 Develop a Community
Joining a childbirth education class means getting plugged into a community of like-minded individuals who are going through the same experience as you. Sharing in this community can provide you with many resources during pregnancy, at birth, and as you start your journey with a newborn. Sometimes the relationships you develop with classmates last a lifetime, and at the least you’ll have connected with other families in similar stages of life. An example of this would Blossom Birth and Wellness Center in Phoenix, AZ.
#6 Newborn Care and Breastfeeding
There are many tricks, tips, and unexpected things that you’ll experience when you have a newborn. Taking a childbirth education class can help inform you and your partner about what kinds of challenges a newborn presents. You’ll be better informed about how to care for your newborn and how to breastfeed.
Many methods are taught in childbirth education classes. You can learn about them through your healthcare provider, family, friends, doulas, pregnancy centers, or online through social media. There are often local mom’s groups that you can learn about to join or visit, which will inform you about the types of classes they took. Here are some of the more well-known methods:
Lamaze is best known for its breathing techniques, but it is much more. The goal of Lamaze classes is to “increase women’s confidence in their ability to give birth.” Toward that end, women learn a variety of simple coping strategies, of which breathing is only one. The classes aim to help women “learn how to respond to pain in ways that both facilitate labor and increase comfort.”
The class content includes:
- Normal labor, birth, and the 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
For more information: https://www.lamaze.org/
The Bradley Method
The Bradley Method emphasizes that birth is a natural process: mothers are encouraged to trust their body and focus on diet and exercise throughout pregnancy, and it teaches couples to manage labor through deep breathing and the support of a partner or labor coach. Blossom holds a class in The Bradley Method at their birth center here.
This comprehensive 12-week course covers:
- Importance of nutrition and exercise
- Relaxation techniques to manage pain
- Labor rehearsals
- How to avoid a cesarean birth
- Postpartum care
- Guidance for a coach/doula about supporting and advocating for the mother
For more information: https://www.bradleybirth.com/
The Hypnobirthing method teaches mothers that if you remove fear and tension, severe pain does not have to be part of labor. 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.
For more information: https://www.hypnobirthing.com/
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. Blossom offers a great program located here.
For more information: https://www.birthingfromwithin.com/
We hope every mommy feels empowered to have the birth they envision. Finding and taking a childbirth education class is one of the best ways to help every woman achieve that vision. Do you know of another type of childbirth education class to include in this list? Please send us an email about your experience on the contact page.