Reflections on Motherhood and Life as a Doula

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Childbirth Preparation Classes: Why wouldn't you?

I can't even come close to describing the number of women (friends, family and strangers) I approach who are pregnant, who giggle or turn up their noses to the thought of childbirth preparation classes.  Now I'll admit, I was one of them during my first pregnancy - and boy was that a mistake.  Thank God I wisened up and took them during my second pregnancy.

What is it about childbirth preparation classes that makes women giggle and turn up those noses?  Did you read so much about birth that you don't think there is anything more you could possibly learn about?  Do you think your careprovider is actually telling you all need to know to have an empowering birth?  Do you think these classes are just for natural childbirth/homebirth/hippy women?
Are you afraid to find out that childbirth is pretty much NOTHING like that childbirth "bible" you read - "What to Expect When You're Expecting"?  Are you afraid to find out that the careprovider you have chosen may possibly be telling you incorrect information - and maybe it's more about their job being made easier rather than you having a satisfying experience?  Are you afraid to discover that the place of birth you have chosen is not where you feel safest?  Are you afraid to find out that labor and birth does not have to be a horrific, out-of-control painful experience?  Do you not want to hear that labor is HARD WORK that YOU (not your careprovider) have to do?  Are you afraid to find out that all those drugs that your friends and family claim to be amazing because they "hurried it up" and "took away the pain", are actually putting that innocent little life you have created, at risk?

Is the giggling laughter, or is it a defense mechanism to hide the fear we have surrounding childbirth?

Why wouldn't you take childbirth preparation classes??  It can't hurt!!!  It is 1-2 hours, 1 day a week, for about 6-8 weeks.  What else were you going to do?  Watch TV?  Finish up some work?  Clean the house? 
Why can't you take 1-2 hours, 1 day a week, for about 6-8 weeks to focus on you and that beautiful baby growing inside of you?

You will learn about nutrition, drugs and interventions, coping mechanisms for labor, different places to birth your baby and different kinds of careproviders.  You will learn about the hormonal blueprint of labor and how different emotions and environments can effect the entire process.  You will discover your personal beliefs and your fears.  You will be in a safe place to vocalize (or write down) your fears and work through them. 
And on top of all that knowledge, you will walk away with confidence and trust in YOURSELF and YOUR body. 

Is this kind of knowledge and confidence harmful to your pregnancy, labor and birth?  Absolutely not.  It could be the very thing that prevents your birth from becoming a surgical birth - whether it being a cascade of interventions leading to episiotomy/forcep birth, or an unnecessary cesarean made necessary because of intervention. It also can help you process a necessary surgical birth due to REAL complications and not someone else's time limit.

So again.  Childbirth Preparation Classes:  Why wouldn't you???

Don't know where to begin and what kind of classes to take???  Start here with my favorites!

The Bradley Method
Birthing From Within
Also - a lot of doulas provide childbirth prep classes.  Find a doula that you are comfortable with and see if she offers classes or maybe she will have some good recommendations!

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