Expecting a new child is an exciting time! With a new life comes new responsibilities. Picking out a name, choosing a crib, deciding on a car seat, and decorating the nursery are a few of the many new items on your to-do list. With all of those time-consuming tasks, who has time to take weeks of birth classes?
In short, birth happens to be one of the most transformational events of our lives. You want to be prepared for the best day of your life, don't you? Well, preparing for it takes time. You can't expect to just show up and make confident decisions on the spot with limited background information and no outside preparation. Do athletes show up to the Olympics with no prior training? Heck no.
Just as if you were to prepare for an athletic event, you should take time and energy to prepare for birth. Taking childbirth classes can help you get ready physically, mentally, and emotionally for your big day. Remember, you are training for the event of your life. You deserve the best possible preparation.
What are the benefits of childbirth education classes?
Builds confidence: Childbirth classes teach you about the process of birth and all the normal and not so normal variations that come with it. You will learn the terminology, how to interact with your birth team, what your options are, different labor scenarios and many other things that will boost your confidence in yourself and your decisions. Best of all, you will have confidence in your body’s ability to give birth.
Learn comfort measures: Most people don’t realize that working with your body, instead of against it, can decrease pain and discomfort. Learning what techniques work best in each stage of labor and in different situations will increase your ability to handle the discomfort of active labor.
Chance to discuss fears: Fear is normal, but it doesn’t have to be idle. Education can alleviate fear. Knowing the facts vs fiction can help to calm the mind and make the birthing process easier. It can feel good to discuss your fears with your teacher or other couples who might have the same fears.
Partners learn support: One of the biggest deciding factors for many couples is that classes will help the significant other learn how to support the laboring woman during birth. Spouses will learn what happens in labor and how to apply their newly learned information throughout the birthing process. Some classes even train dads to be a doula.
Opportunity to ask questions: Have you ever turned to an internet chatroom to get answer for a question you had? Sometimes those chatrooms can be very informative and other times they can be very misleading. Taking a birth class give you a chance to ask your qualified teacher questions or see if the couples in class have experienced the same thing. You get an answer with a real face behind it.
Newborn care: Parenting can be tough. There is no rule book. No “How-To” videos. Sometimes you are just thrown in the pit and expected to survive. Taking a childbirth class can help lesson the unknown of having a new baby. Classes will teach you about newborn procedures, care, and safety. Our classes even throw in attachment training to help you learn how to build the securest bond with your baby.
Enhance birth experience (statistics): Lastly, science supports the need for birth education. Research has shown that childbirth classes dramatically reduce the use of medical intervention at birth. Women who participated in childbirth classes were found to have:
Reduced epidural use by 44.8%
Reduced caesarean section rates by 14.3%
Reduction of required artificial acceleration of labor by 30.3%
A shorter second stage of labor (an average difference of 32 minutes)
Babies who were less likely to need resuscitation at birth by 15.3%
(1) Levett KM, Smith CA, Bensoussan A, et al Complementary therapies for labour and birth study: a randomised controlled trial of antenatal integrative medicine for pain management in labour BMJ Open 2016;6:e010691. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2015-010691
Your Next Steps
Find a childbirth education class that fits your needs! Start introspectively: What kind of birth do you want? Who do you want to be your biggest support in the birthing room? Does your prospective class support your goals? Has the teacher gone through any training to teach this class? Does your teacher have hands on experiencing using this method in birth.
Looking for a class? Check out our childbirth series today!