Childbirth classes? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 10-25-2005, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've been assuming that DH and I will take a childbirth class, just so we have a structured way to think about the birth together and feel like it is a shared experience. I am very informed about birth and have read Ina May, etc, but feel like it might be beneficial to learn the breathing techniques and such from a class. DH is very squeamish about birth and is not well-informed, nor does he have any interest in reading about it. I feel like a childbirth class would do him good from that persepective. (Note: He's not a bad guy, nor does he have negative attitudes about birth. He just feels like I am the one who needs to be informed, and he knows I am. ) Anyway, I assumed we would do a Bradley class since that is what many of my friends did. However, now that I have actually looked into the availability of classes in my area, I see that the only Bradley class that hasn't started yet will end more than 2 weeks *after* my due date. So if baby is "on time," I would miss 2 out of 12 sessions. The other type of class available in my area is Lamaze. They are only 3 sessions, so we could easily get into a class that completes well in advance of my due date. I have never known anyone who has taken a Lamaze class so I don't know much about it. Anyone? Should we do Bradley and count on missing a few? Should we do Lamaze? Should we skip altogether?
Please share your experiences.

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#2 of 15 Old 10-25-2005, 02:47 PM
 
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Go with the Bradley class.

I think you could do much better reading and finding some birth videos then going to a Lamaze class, especially if they are hospital sponsored.
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#3 of 15 Old 10-25-2005, 03:00 PM
 
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I would go with the Bradley class as well. That's what dh and I are going to be doing. From what I've heard, Lamaze pretty much teaches you about hospital birth (a lot of people say it teaches you how to be a docile patient, actually); Bradley assumes an unmedicated birth and gives you techniques for pain management, relaxation, etc. Most Bradley courses also cover nutrition and other aspects of pregnancy/childbirth. If you know you're going to miss the last two classes, I might just give the instructor a heads-up and see if there's another way for you to get the info. You could also get the book "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" (which your instructor will probably recommend anyhow).
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#4 of 15 Old 10-25-2005, 04:30 PM
 
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Here's another idea: skip the childbirth class entirely.

I found that I didn't use one thing from my Bradley class. Not one thing. Granted, I was extremely well-read on what to expect (i.e., stages of labor, birthing strategies, options for drugs, cesarian possibilities, etc.) You sound like you are too. For someone who isn't as much of an independent researcher, I would definitely recommend a class. But if you, like me, have read every possible thing (Dr. Sears' the Birth Book, Ina May, etc.), Bradley wound up being pretty irrelevant once labor came. I'm sure this isn't true for everyone, but I didn't use one Bradley technique. I didn't even think about it. Instead, I went into instinct mode - moaning, breathing, relaxing. I learned that I knew what to do as a birthing woman - and I personally believe most women would. The absolute best preparation for labor and birth IMO is yoga because it teaches you to get in touch with this inner wisdom. Yoga teaches you to notice how your body feels and what it does in response to discomfort. It teaches you about your breath. And it teaches you what YOU as an individual know how to do when you begin to feel pain or discomfort.

Your concerns about your DH knowing what's up are sound, though. I know our pre-natal yoga classes have "partner" classes where you work together with your partner to help him/her learn how to be present for you and help you to relax. It also teaches good positions he can help you with. If your area has one of these, that might well be enough.
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#5 of 15 Old 10-25-2005, 04:44 PM
 
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I think Lamaze are not so helpful. We went to one with the first birth, and while it did prepare us for a hospital birth (which we were having) and all the possible interventions, it did not really prepare for deviations from the norm or a natural childbirth. Once you learn the breathing patterns (which BTW feel REALLY STUPID, even during birth), there wasn't a lot else offered up as coping methods to get through birth. I got nothin!

I've been doing yoga and found ujjayi breathing to be way more helpful than any lamaze hee-hee-hees. And I don't feel like a tool.

That said, even if you go to a brief "refresher" course in a homebirthing, Bradley, or Birthing from Within context, I do think it's very helpful. Actually seeing births on videos (for the partners); performing distraction techniques and seeing which ones work better for you (we had to hold little pieces of ice - yowch); and emotionally processing were all helpful to me. I also thought I didn't need it - 2nd birth - but found after I went that I was far more relaxed about the whole deal and felt like I had better inner resources than I'd originally thought. Also, you get to meet people who you have a lot in common with, if you find a class that is out-of-hospital.

I would also add: it's really important for your partner to be prepared in some manner or another. It's an intense, tiring experience for many partners, and his experience of the birth is important too...it's not really "just about the mom." He's going to have to do a lot for you emotionally (hopefully) and being prepared for that emotional output is not something everyone is expecting. Are you having a doula?
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#6 of 15 Old 10-25-2005, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the great responses! You all told me exactly what I wan to know. I think we will go ahead and do the Bradley class. I just double-checked the calendar, and the way the dates fall the class actually should end 2 days *before* my EDD, so we may be able to finish after all.

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Are you having a doula?
Nope. Wouldn't be able to afford one anyway, but actually I can't think of anyone I'd rather have as support than my own mom. She's terrific in situations where I need advocacy/support, she has the best sensor of my moods/needs, and she had two natural childbirths. I know doulas have special training for that specific situation, but I think I'd still rather have my own mama. (Also I guess at 29 I'm still "attached.") I think she's going to read the Bradley book too.

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#7 of 15 Old 10-26-2005, 12:22 AM
 
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I certainly don't want ot sound like i'm trying to give you advice after you've made your decision, but i have some of the same concerns.

I kind of assumed we'd do Bradley just because it's the most 'natural' oriented class out there that's widely available.

Thing is it seems like Bradley is really partner-coached, and that that is a major emphasis. That is so not the dynamic of our relationship. I can't imagine that it would for DH to 'coach' me. In fact I can't imagine responding well to *anyone* trying to coach me!

My DH is far more interested in learning about helping with the baby and learning how to do household tasks he hadn't had to do before than learning about the actual birth. He regards birthing as the province of women, a kind of sweet old fashioned view that I sort of appreciate. He's agreed to be present or not for much of the labor as I prefer. Sounds like the Bradley approach would be useless for us.

We're leaning towards not doing classes at all, if my midwife is ok with that.
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#8 of 15 Old 10-27-2005, 05:55 PM
 
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Bradley...
I got a late start too. My instructor had me junp in and take the last 4 classes first (insted of waiting for a new class to start), then I started with class one when the new round began. Had I gone in to labor before we got the last 4 classes it would have been okay. I was able to get them all. Maybe you can ask about doing that? Hope that didn't come out too confunsing... just for clarification our class schedule went 9, 10, 11, 12, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8... labor!

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#9 of 15 Old 10-27-2005, 06:10 PM
 
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We skipped it. Not really on purpose... but I kept meaning to have one of my midwife's students schedule me and then it was Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then I was due I don't regret it at all.

I would do Bradley, if any.

WAHMama to Allen (2-10-05) and Alexa (6-27-08)
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#10 of 15 Old 10-27-2005, 07:59 PM
 
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I say take the Bradley classes too! I took them last time. The last class met on my son's due date, so we took him - he was 2 weeks old! It was on newborn care or something, so very appropriate to have him there! So we missed the last 2 classes, but still had a perfect Bradley birth. There was a couple in my class that was due before classes we over, and the instructor met with them outside of class too, so you might get someone willing to do that. Good luck!
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#11 of 15 Old 10-27-2005, 09:24 PM
 
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DH and I aren't going to do any childbirth classes. The Bradley classes are like $300 and I decided I'd rather have that money go toward a Doula, which I think will be more helpful. We are doing tons of research on our own, though.
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#12 of 15 Old 10-27-2005, 09:53 PM
 
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I would say Bradley, but also some midwives and doulas will do childbirth classes. That's what we are doing, and she will kind of direct it to what we want to learn about. Just another possible option.

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#13 of 15 Old 10-27-2005, 10:12 PM
 
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Yeah, it is a lot of money. Years before I took Bradley classes I read "Narural Childbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon. Most of what we learned in class was in that book. So for about $12 you can get some top notch info on the stages of labor (what to expect) and how to lessen pain. What I got most out of reading it was confidence that I could have a natural birth. It's also husband friendly (lots of pictures, not an overwhelming amount of information). Dr. Bradley's book "Husband Coached Childbirth" is also really good, but good luck getting a man to read it... I couldn't get my ex to read even the parts I highlighted.
Here's a link to give you a visual. If you haven't already read it that is!
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/045...KCQV3&v=glance

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#14 of 15 Old 10-28-2005, 01:27 PM
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Glad to hear you found something that will work. My prenatal yoga teacher is going to give some partner classes, so we're not doing anything else.

I think a big part of any of these classes is to get the partners on board and thinking concretely about their role in the birth. I am hoping for more support this time from DH, and thinking a little yoga class will be just the thing. We're also borrowing from my midwife lots of videos showing partners helping in birth, just for inspiration. Good luck!

warmly,
Kam, mamamama! to Meg
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#15 of 15 Old 10-28-2005, 05:26 PM
 
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We are taking Bradley classes. BF is not well informed, but he is willing to help if someone gives him a job. Bradley gives him a job. Before the class he wasn't as willing to read & discuss ideas about birth with me; now he is right there with the exercises and relaxation techniques every night. I'm really glad we took them -- even though I know everything she is teaching, pretty much -- because it helped us get more unified about birth.
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