birthing classes - a must? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 26 Old 08-12-2011, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have looked into birthing classes but honestly don't feel I need them, although my midwife has been encouraging us to look into them. I have read all the holistic birthing books out there, I have a Bradley workbook I found at a used bookstore, and my DH and i already agreed he's not going to be the "coach" (my mom is going to do that, if I need a coach). I am very strong both physically and mentally, I do yoga and walk 1hr each day, I meditate and visualize, and I respect the birthing process but am not afraid of it. DH and mom both agreed to review relevant birthing info and watch birthing videos to know what to say and expect... with all this, is it really necessary to take those expensive and time-consuming courses? Haven't women been birthing babies for eons before Dr. Bradley came into the picture?

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#2 of 26 Old 08-12-2011, 05:10 PM
 
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I never took one and I had two great births. I'm typically a researcher though and I spent tons of time reading up on birthy things beforehand.

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#3 of 26 Old 08-12-2011, 05:36 PM
 
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I took one with my oldest, but it was pretty pointless for me, I'd done so much reading by that point. Personally, I think the classes should be a lot earlier in pregnancy. I think they're more for women who can't/won't do lots of reading and research on their own or those who would like more reassurance/specific info than they can get from books.

 

I really need to figure out what I'd need to do to have my own childbirth education class here. I think I'd be awesome at it. Teaching a class to high schoolers would be great too. Get them started on being educated before (most) of them need it.


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#4 of 26 Old 08-12-2011, 05:43 PM
 
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We took one together for my first birth.  Honestly, I was already way into birth, but it was an awesome avenue to discuss the process (as I would like it) with my partner so we could be on the same page.  Basically, it was more for him than me, but overall a great use of our time.

 

The class that we took (a Birthing From Within version) was much more than just discussing birth.  It was about us being a partnership.  One of my fondest memories was writing letters to our unborn a few months in advance...and then reading them during labor.  I still treasure them.


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#5 of 26 Old 08-12-2011, 06:16 PM
 
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This came up in the December DDC too... and because I couldn't help myself I DDCC that thread to post this link + discussion I found really inspiring to help me think about what I wanted/needed in terms of birth preparation.

 

http://vancouverdoula.blogspot.com/2010/03/slow-birth-preparation.html

 

I haven't made up my mind yet, but it definitely gave me a lot to think about... I think that many mamas who read this doula's blog post will find a kernel of truth either in her words or the reader's comments, I felt it did much to address the dilemma of birthing prep classes :)


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#6 of 26 Old 08-12-2011, 06:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AfricanQueen99 View Post

We took one together for my first birth.  Honestly, I was already way into birth, but it was an awesome avenue to discuss the process (as I would like it) with my partner so we could be on the same page.  Basically, it was more for him than me, but overall a great use of our time.

 

The class that we took (a Birthing From Within version) was much more than just discussing birth.  It was about us being a partnership.  One of my fondest memories was writing letters to our unborn a few months in advance...and then reading them during labor.  I still treasure them.

 


We went when we were pregnant with our first daughter. I definitely agree that it was more useful to my husband than me... I did not learn any new information at all but it did ease both of our nerves a bit since we took it so late in pregnancy. We feel like old pros now so definitely won't be taking a class... but I do yoga regularly which is my emotional and physical prep. I do wish I could sign my husband up for a refresher course on what I will be going through during delivery and even through pregnancy since we have plenty of books that he's never read and he has a tendency to be somewhat unknowingly insensitive. 

 

It's definitely not necessary but I do agree that it was a fun bonding experience.

 

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#7 of 26 Old 08-12-2011, 06:52 PM
 
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I think it really depends on the birthing class.  The class I took with my first was absolutely useless but a friend of mine took a Bradley birthing class that she thought was phenomenal.  I think it's a good idea for a first time mom to be very informed and educated about birth but I don't think that necessarily requires a birthing class.


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#8 of 26 Old 08-12-2011, 09:00 PM
 
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DH and I took a class with DS, though we unfortunately missed half of the classes because DS was born early and the class would have ended a few days after his due date. I enjoyed it because we had a great instructor and it was nice to meet other mamas, but I don't think it was necessary with all of the reading I'd been doing. I hear really good things about Bradley and Hypnobirthing classes.

 

One thing you might not think of - that kind of class CAN be useful for networking and meeting other families in the area if you don't know a lot of other people with kids and want to avoid feeling isolated with a little baby. Going from no children to a baby is a really difficult transition, and it is really helpful to have IRL friends going through the same thing, as well as mamas who have experienced it fairly recently. I would not bother with a class out of a hospital, though, personally, and I would make sure if I took a class that it was one I really felt good about and had recommendations from friends, midwives, and/or doulas.

 

I also went to La Leche meetings (which are free!) a couple of times before DS was born, and that helped me to network a little, too. I moved shortly after DS was born, and where I live now, the LL group was offering "meal trains" to new mamas who were members. LL was very valuable to me in meeting people in the area and finding out about other mom & baby groups and activities. Many of my local mom friends can be directly or indirectly traced back to that.

 

The only kind of class I'd consider now, after already going through the process is an exercise class.


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#9 of 26 Old 08-12-2011, 09:36 PM
 
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I think it totally depends on you and on the class you can find. I was like you, very informed/educated, not afraid, took my emotional preparedness for birth very seriously, etc. . .and the class I did take, I was honestly bored. But I think if I had had access to a Birthing from Within class at the time, it would have been a different story.

 

But basically, I didn't need the class I took and I had an awesome homebirth, during which I just listened to my body and trusted my body (with a foundation of knowledge of course) and THAT was truly the best thing I could have done.  In many ways, no one can totally prepare you for your birth. . .it will be unique and you and only you will have to live it and be in that moment and follow your own needs. 

 

I think what I actually needed but didn't know it at the time) was a postpartum class!!! Man, birth was easy (in my case) compared to the first 6wks postpartum. But that's a different story.


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#10 of 26 Old 08-13-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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I think what I actually needed but didn't know it at the time) was a postpartum class!!! Man, birth was easy (in my case) compared to the first 6wks postpartum. But that's a different story.


YES!!

 

I felt like I was so prepared for the whole labor process, but then, there I was with a little baby thinking "what do I do now?" and there's no WAY I could read as voraciously as before! I did read sometimes while he napped on my lap, if I didn't nap myself, but I was tired and it was harder to read as efficiently. I wish I'd read more about the first 3 months before DS was born!

 


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#11 of 26 Old 08-13-2011, 09:12 AM
 
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The birthing class I had didn't help all that much...but a week or two after that I took a breastfeeding class that helped tremendously!   So, if you are planning on breastfeeding and this is your first child, i would highly recommend one of those!


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#12 of 26 Old 08-13-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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Montessorimama, I totally know what you mean.  I will mostly have to work up the interest to go to one, but I do feel if you find the right kind of class, it may be only of marginal use to an informed mama like yourself, but of a LOT of use for papa. My DH doesn't go with to midwife appointments, and I don't mind, but for myself I am looking for ways for him to be more involved.


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#13 of 26 Old 08-13-2011, 01:48 PM
 
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Montessorimama, I totally know what you mean.  I will mostly have to work up the interest to go to one, but I do feel if you find the right kind of class, it may be only of marginal use to an informed mama like yourself, but of a LOT of use for papa. My DH doesn't go with to midwife appointments, and I don't mind, but for myself I am looking for ways for him to be more involved.


good point. those classes can be great at getting dh in the same page as you since they are likely not going to all the appts or reading all the books. my dh read a bradley book with me last time (as well as watched all the movies like BofBB and Orgasmic Birth) and we would do the exercises together and I thought that was really great for us. in our case he got as little as I did out of our class.

 


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#14 of 26 Old 08-13-2011, 03:17 PM
 
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Those of you with not-so-great classes...  What classes were these?  Where they just birth focused on not the experience?  Where they the dreaded hospital classes (*insert horrible scary movie music here*?


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#15 of 26 Old 08-13-2011, 03:49 PM
 
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I didn't take one during my first pregnancy (natural hospital labor, and i was SO glad i'd read a lot ahead of time and knew what i wanted to say yes/no to and why!) and don't really plan to this time ever. If you're much of a reader at all (and it sounds like you are) then I think you can easily learn as much or more than you would from the average pre-natal class from books.



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#16 of 26 Old 08-13-2011, 05:39 PM
 
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I definitely agree with what most of the women on here are saying.... for a well-informed researching mama, I don't think it is necessary from the perspective of gaining more knowledge about the process.  I did however see some really cool birth videos that I may not have found myself!  For your partner, it may be a different story though... there may be some useful stuff if he is not delving into the books.  Also, I totally second the idea that those birthing classes can be great networking tools.  I still have contact with some of the folks that were in my class and it has been really cool to see their little ones grow as well. 

 

Also,I think it definitely depends on the class.  I don't think the class I took delved far enough into labor coping techniques.... I think that there are some great exercises in Birthing From Within that would be more beneficial that anything we talked about.  We did, however, do interesting things like talk about our fears and create birth art which were positive experiences for us.  I think a class that only talks about pros and cons of interventions (from the perspective of liability) and doesn't address the emotional process is a waste.

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#17 of 26 Old 08-13-2011, 08:31 PM
 
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I think it totally depends on you. I know plenty of women who wanted a natural childbirth, but didn't do anything to prepare, so they ended up with epidurals. If you feel that you can prepare yourself thoroughly without a class, then more to ya!

 

Personally, I think my Bradley class was priceless. While I could have gotten all the information from just the books, I loved that I connected with new moms, it kept me consistent with my diet and exercise, it helped my husband to connect to the process, and I was able to ask my Bradley instructor specific questions that the books may not cover (or not in enough detail). I'm sure I could have done it without the class, but I think the class was a real benefit for my situation. I also loved that it was a full 12 weeks, so it gave me plenty of time to explore new options, keep up with the exercise long enough for my birth to benefit from it, etc.


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#18 of 26 Old 08-14-2011, 12:57 PM
 
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Childbirth classes aren't (or shouldn't be) just about "learning".  There should be exercises and games aimed at getting you to think through various scenarios, narrow down your priorities, practice different coping mechanisms, talk with other people.  It's also a great way to get husbands involved and meet other expectant parents who desire a natural birth.

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#19 of 26 Old 08-15-2011, 08:36 AM
 
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Childbirth classes aren't (or shouldn't be) just about "learning".  There should be exercises and games aimed at getting you to think through various scenarios, narrow down your priorities, practice different coping mechanisms, talk with other people.  It's also a great way to get husbands involved and meet other expectant parents who desire a natural birth.



I second this.  They should also be for drilling something into your head so much, so when the time comes, you don't have to stop and think, "how did they teach me to do this?" when the time comes.

 

That being said, I took Bradley the first time around and I didn't get too much out of the classes, but I was thankful that it was a full 12 weeks of classes, rather than just a couple.  It was a great place to meet parents due at the same time we were (even though everyone else in the class were waaaaaaaaaay different from my DH and me).  Also, the few snippets and mantras that I did pull from the class were priceless during labor.  My DH wasn't too into the classes, though, so it made it more difficult.  It was just too fear-based for my DH's liking (he's a big Skeptic and loves to debate), but at least he was polite and humored me.  This time around, I'm still not depending on him too much to be a "coach", per se, but as long as he's there to hold my hand, I can handle the rest.


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#20 of 26 Old 08-15-2011, 08:56 AM
 
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Personally, I think my Bradley class was priceless. While I could have gotten all the information from just the books, I loved that I connected with new moms, it kept me consistent with my diet and exercise, it helped my husband to connect to the process, and I was able to ask my Bradley instructor specific questions that the books may not cover (or not in enough detail). I'm sure I could have done it without the class, but I think the class was a real benefit for my situation. I also loved that it was a full 12 weeks, so it gave me plenty of time to explore new options, keep up with the exercise long enough for my birth to benefit from it, etc.

ddcc.... to say "ditto" on the Bradley. It was a like a college class in childbirth with required reading and homework. Love it. It helped the dh so much, too. I did throw away the bit about coaching because that drives me nuts... instead we worked on dh being the "main support person".
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#21 of 26 Old 08-15-2011, 10:09 AM
 
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ddcc.... to say "ditto" on the Bradley. It was a like a college class in childbirth with required reading and homework. Love it. It helped the dh so much, too. I did throw away the bit about coaching because that drives me nuts... instead we worked on dh being the "main support person".


I kinda wish my Bradley class was like how you described.  Methinks my instructor wasn't exactly the best.  We hardly even opened our folder given to us by the instructor, much less have homework.

 


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#22 of 26 Old 08-15-2011, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 You ladies have done it once again!  Thank you for your insightful opinions!  You've certainly made my decision-making process easier, and I don't feel alone now.  grouphug.gif


Happy housewife and mom to big Z, born at home 1/2012. m/c 07/14 @ 5w and happy to get back to trying!  
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#23 of 26 Old 08-16-2011, 09:54 AM
 
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Childbirth classes aren't (or shouldn't be) just about "learning".  There should be exercises and games aimed at getting you to think through various scenarios, narrow down your priorities, practice different coping mechanisms, talk with other people.  It's also a great way to get husbands involved and meet other expectant parents who desire a natural birth.


This. In fact, research shows that attenders of childbirth class do as well as non-attenders and have similar outcomes in birth -- but what's good about childbirth class is that you meet people and form connections. Having friends going through what you're going through can decrease your risk of PPD. And, if it's a partner-friendly class and the teacher really goes out of her way to engage your partner, then it's a double-win.

That said, if you and your partner already have a strong support network, and your partner already knows what's up in terms of birth and birth support (s/he's read books and talked with you at length), then I'd save the money and invest it in a nice postpartum massage! ;-)

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#24 of 26 Old 08-17-2011, 09:21 AM
 
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Has anyone had any experience with Hypnobirthing classes?


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#25 of 26 Old 08-17-2011, 09:28 AM
 
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There's a whole string, just on Hypnobirthing...   http://www.mothering.com/community/forum/thread/1319468/hypnobabies

 

Hope that helps!


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#26 of 26 Old 08-30-2011, 10:59 AM
 
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We did hypnosis for birth and got incredible results, but we took private classes, I'm not sure what it would have been like in the group class that she offered.  It was a very personal and wonderful thing for the two of us.  I do know some parents who still have friends they made in their birthing classes, but I'm skeptical about finding something in common with people who's unifying thread is getting busy at the same time as us...

Neither of us is shy, so it seemed weird that we were not into the group thing, but it worked for us.

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