I ran into a friend the other day that is 4 months pregnant. I haven’t seen her in a while and was excited to hear that she was expecting. I said my congratulations and we chatted for a second. I told her that I had just finished teaching (she knows I am a childbirth educator) and without a prompt, she quickly stated, “Oh, that's about all-natural, that's not for me. I don’t plan on doing that.” And, the conversation ended right there…
I walked away thinking to myself, did I offend her? Did I make her feel uncomfortable? I began to feel really self-conscious; and, honestly I wasn’t sure why. Oddly, I felt judged about the work I do. As a childbirth educator and doula, I support women and honor their decisions in birth no matter how they choose to labor.
My encounter with her got me thinking... Childbirth Classes - Who needs them?
My answer - Anyone that is having a baby!
Childbirth classes are only for those that want an all-natural and un-medicated birth. If you do not want to go that route then you don't need childbirth classes.
A lot of the couples that attend my childbirth education courses wish to achieve a less intervention birth and to possibly have an all-natural birth; however, there are a lot of couples that attend my classes that just want to be more informed about the process. In addition, there is a percentage that will also have a cesarean delivery, and guess what, childbirth classes cover that too.
For those that want a medicated birth: You WILL go into labor, you WILL experience contractions, and you WILL need to make decisions for yourself and your baby.
For example, one of my most resent doula clients was in labor for 48 hours. She was doing wonderfully at home as labor progressed, listening to her body and working with her labor. About the 26th hour, she decided that she wanted to go to the hospital. She was exhausted and wanted to rest on an epidural. We arrived at 3am in the morning and we were told that she was about 1 centimeter dilated and not in full active labor so we were sent home. At this point her body had been contracting very hard for over a day and all she wanted was rest.
Fortunately, this couple had attended my Bradley Method childbirth classes and they were well prepared for handling such a situation. They rallied through the set back and went home to take a bath, eat, rest and labor some more. This woman's partner was prepared and took great care of her supporting her through her entire labor. He fed her and made sure she was hydrated, he massaged and soothed her, encouraging her with his loving words to keep her morale high. Being prepared, he was able to keep her focused on the goal; their baby. After an additional 8 hours laboring at home they returned to the hospital where she received her epidural, rested and pushed her baby out later that evening.
So, as a childbirth educator when I hear expecting women say, "Oh, childbirth classes, I don't want an unmedicated birth, that is not for me." All I can think is:
Childbirth Classes - Who Needs Them:
Anyone that is having a baby.
Anyone that will have a contraction.
Anyone that will be supporting someone having a contraction.
Anyone that wants to be informed about their birth.
Anyone that wants to have a better birth experience.
Anyone that wants to have a supportive partner that clearly understands their part & role in birth.
Regardless of how you labor!
The more you know what to expect from your birth, the more prepared you are and supportive your partner is, the better experience you both will have.
Invest in yourself, invest in your birth!