Attending birth classes can go a long way toward relieving the anxiety and doubt that so many women and their partners have about labor and delivery. These classes tend to build confidence in your ability to give birth. Birth education is also an important tool in making informed decisions and having the labor and birth you want.
Here are some tips and suggestions as to what you can expect at a birth education class, and how you can find the right class for you.
What Happens in the Class?
Usually, you will attend the class with your partner if possible. Some couples say the classes brought them closer together.
Classes last anywhere from six to eight weeks. During this time, you will learn some of the following.
* How the process of birth works. Many of us are surprisingly ignorant of how a normal birth happens. Childbirth classes will help explain this. This helps take the surprise out of the labor process – it can be very powerful, and if you don’t know what’s going on, it can be frightening.
* You will likely learn relaxation and coping techniques.
* Interventions and hospital procedures are explained and discussed.
* The class will probably offer opportunities for you to ask questions, share fears and experiences, and/or assure others.
* Your partner will learn how best to support you during labor.
* If your class is in the hospital (which they usually are), you will probably take a tour of the birthing facility. Make sure you take the opportunity to ask questions.
How to Find a Class That’s Right for You
If you are not planning on a hospital birth, you may not want to take the local hospital’s classes. Or if you choose an alternative birth in the hospital, it’s a good idea to take the class to find out the hospital’s policies regarding interventions and such. Here are some tips for finding the right class for you.
* Lamaze classes are helpful for women seeking natural childbirth that is facilitated by controlled breathing. You’ll learn about body positioning, labor support, pain relief techniques like massage, and breastfeeding.
* Bradley classes are another form of natural birth method designed to teach women how to relax and “embrace” the labor. Bradley classes also offer students education in nutrition, exercise, and other prenatal care. Breastfeeding is also part of Bradley education.
* If you choose a conventional hospital birth, your local hospital will probably offer classes on site as part of your plan to birth in their facility.