As expectant mothers are being increasingly drawn to learn more about the wide variety of birthing options and labor techniques, more and more out-of-hospital childbirth classes are being offered. With so many different types of childbirth courses available in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, this can leave you feeling overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the one that is right for you and your baby.
My goal, as a Childbirth Educator, is to provide you with knowledge that empowers you to choose with confidence the birthing class that best suits your needs – in or out of the hospital. After all, childbirth courses are not just about breathing in, breathing out.
They are about educating the expectant mother and her partner about the interconnected elements of pregnancy, birth, and delivery, so they can make educated decisions based on informed consent.
In this post, we will be going over 4 reasons to invest in an extensive childbirth class!
#1. Creating a Birth Plan
Not everyone knows the importance of creating a birth plan. Just as you invest time into planning a special birthday gathering in order to ensure that it goes smoothly and that you are free to enjoy the moment, it is important that you also invest time into planning your birth experience. After all, bringing your baby into the world is a monumental moment and the very first birthday celebration that your baby will have!
Childbirth classes are all about giving you insights into your birthing options. For example, eating during labor is an option and has its benefits or the various positions for your body to be in during each phase of the labor process. (And no, you do not actually have to give birth lying on your back!) Little Lilacs teaches Intuitive childbirth classes, which will walk you through better, more comfortable positions that naturally open your pelvis (and reduce tearing…hint hint).
Whether you are planning to give birth in the hospital or out of the hospital, childbirth classes go over all the information you need in both settings. In fact, a childbirth class may help you choose which environment you would prefer!
#2. Being Informed … to Give Informed Consent
Informed consent is the permission that is granted by a patient to the doctor for carrying out treatment. When signing informed consent, the patient must be informed! This means having full understanding of all the possible risks, benefits, and alternatives of that treatment… and therefore having full understanding of exactly what they are agreeing to do.
This part is very important, because – without the awareness of what is being signed – the expectant mother is unable to make a truly informed decision for their health, as well as for the health of their baby.
The childbirth classes you select should prepare you for this moment by giving you an in-depth understanding of the common procedures offered during labor, including induction methods, pain relief options, episiotomies, continuous fetal monitoring, and many others.
Informed consent must also be given voluntarily and without duress, meaning that no doctor can force you to agree to a treatment that you do not want to do. During labor, while contractions are flowing, it is easy to get overwhelmed, especially if your doctor is seemingly urgent or insistent that you go along with their preferred procedure.
Childbirth classes give you the opportunity to learn and explore the many options you have for your birth plan in a safe, non-judgmental environment, empowering you to speak up during labor should anything begin to deviate from your desired birth plan for unnecessary reasons.
TIP: Use the easy-to-remember acronym B.R.A.I.N. (Benefits, Risks, Alternatives, Intuition, Need More Time) when making any medical decision!
#3. Learning Tips, Tools, and Tricks for Labor
Out-of-hospital childbirth classes, such as the ones we offer at Little Lilacs, are usually more thorough and comprehensive than in-hospital classes. Look for a series with 5 to 12 sessions. Having several sessions allows for the class to dive into each subject covered, providing you a detailed journey through all the tips, tools, and tricks for labor.
The course’s offerings should include the following in regards to labor and delivery: various birthing positions (and understanding why they help a laboring mother), relaxation and comfort measures during the labor process, and optional procedures to opt in or out of following the birth.
This is also a great opportunity for your partner to get involved and learn about your likes, dislikes, and preferences. Would you appreciate physical touch, such as massages and weight support? Or would that be distracting? Do you need constant words of encouragement and affirmation? Or would you rather an atmosphere of quiet and concentration? Would you like help catching the baby? Or would you prefer a midwife to take on that role? Knowing the answers to these and other questions will empower your partner to be involved in both the pregnancy and the birthing process.
#4. Growing Forever Friendships
One of the things I treasure most about the childbirth classes I took when I was pregnant is the forever friendships that developed during the weekly sessions. Most out-of-hospital childbirth classes are small in size, making the environment safe and comfortable to talk about all things pregnancy, labor, and postpartum! Being in the same stage of life together – expecting a little lilac – truly does bring you close. Everyone becomes a cheerleader and supporter for each other, anticipating each other’s labor and delivery with positivity and excitement.
Childbirth classes do require the investment of both time and money; however, the ability to feel empowered to make informed decisions for the health of you and your baby is far greater than going into such a pivotal moment blind and unprepared. I believe I can speak for all Childbirth Educators when I say that it is truly our passion and goal for all women and their families to experience an empowered birth.