birth prep w/o classes - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 12 Old 10-26-2003, 11:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Don't want to take childbirth classes because:
1. no money
2. no time
3. no partner, and altho this doesn't bother me at all, generally, I think I would feel annoyed and/or awkward in a childbirth class full of couples (yes, I *will* have a birth partner - both my best friend and then my mom are coming out here closer to the due date but they live far away and can't go to classes w/ me)

But I think I am missing out on learning specific techniques. I am doing yoga on my own to try and strengthen my body and teach myself how to relax. And I do those Kegels on the subway everyday. And I've been reading a lot, so I understand the mechanics of it all. Any suggestions of other things I can do on my own to prepare?

(I have done it before - gave birth to a child I relinquished for adoption 8 yrs ago - so I kinda know what to expect and I'm not scared. But I didn't take classes that time either, for different reasons.)
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#2 of 12 Old 10-27-2003, 12:12 AM
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Ok here is what I found useful after having one really bad birth experience and the other was such a wonderful experience, I didn't attend classes for either of my briths. I was a lot physically fitter during my second pregnancy which I found really helpful. During labour and birth ; Keep clear headed, I found that if you keep your wits about you and let your body do what it needs to do things go much smoother than trying to stick to a schedule or routine that hopsitals recommend. Keep moving and let gravity do it's work, be comfortable in your surrounds, this is hard to do in some hospitals but if you can, find one that has birthing suites. work out a birthing plan, just a list of what you do and don't want to happen is fine. and make sure your birthing partner will stand up for you if anyone pressures you for something you aren't comfortable with, you don't need the worry. and don't try to fight what is happening, go with it
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#3 of 12 Old 10-27-2003, 01:42 AM
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Read, read, read.

Birthing from Within is a good book to look at. I didn't go for all of the birth art stuff, myself, but it brings up a lot of good things to think about.

Birth stories are a great preparation, I think.

I found a book at the library, Story of a Modern Midwife, or something like that. Good read with lots of birth stories.

A Midwife's Story, excellent book. (I especially liked it because it is about Lancaster, PA, where I grew up.)

The new Ina May Gaskin is supposed to be quite good, also with lots of birth stories. I haven't read it yet.

And of course, there is the wonderful internet.

Seeing that you are in Brooklyn, I took classes at Elizabeth Seton last time (which of course is closing ), but won't be taking them again this time around. I found that they were particularly helpful for me and DH to do together, but I had done so much reading that I personally didn't get a lot of new info. You can really inform yourself quite well if you want without a class.
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#4 of 12 Old 10-27-2003, 01:52 AM
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I agree with the read, read, read. I found that the book "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way" by Susan McCutcheon was much more helpful and informative than the Bradley classes we attended. I've also heard good things about "Birthing from Within" and wished I'd found out about it while pregnant.

Have you found a midwife or dr yet? A midwife can really answer lots of questions and explain alot of the techniques, birthing positions, etc.
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#5 of 12 Old 10-27-2003, 02:03 AM
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make sure you have a care provider you really trust. that attends births in a location you feel comfortable with. I think that is the single most important thing you can do to prepare yourself. I think you need to know it logically, and intuitively about whoever you choose, dr. or midwife to be there safeguarding your birth.

sounds like you already have two good support people. you are relaxing mind and body. now you just need to be sure you are given the space and time to actively birth your baby the way s/he needs to be birthed, without unesscesary distractions and procedures.

maybe spend some time thinking about your first birth, positive and negative parts of the experience. how that experience might help to prepare you.

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#6 of 12 Old 10-27-2003, 03:28 AM
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Yes, read! I agree with Birthing From Within -- I think the birth art is especially helpful when a mom feels anxious or scared; I found it extremely helpful during my second pregnancy to work out fears from my first birth experience.

I would also recommend Spiritual Midwifery, by Ina May. I felt it empowering to read all of those birth stories.

Another great one is Elizabeth Davis' Heart and Hands -- I love that one! I read it all the time.

I personally liked The Sears Birth Book -- I thought it was a good alternative to those looking for a "what to expect" type book.

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#7 of 12 Old 10-29-2003, 01:08 AM - Thread Starter
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thanks ladies.

can i just say that you people (all the boards, not just this one) are so sweet and supportive? i have been eavesdropping on other parenting boards/lists, and some of them are just nasty, like those women need a nap more than their kids do. don't know if y'all are more well-rested, or just nicer, but it's cool.
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#8 of 12 Old 11-05-2003, 06:46 PM
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I'm coming to this a few days late, but I had to respond. I took generic "childbirth preparation classes" when I was pregnant with my first child and I think it actually hurt my chances of an unmedicated birth. I thought I knew what I was in for, but I was so, so wrong. I thought about taking Bradley classes when I was pregnant with my second, but decided against it. Instead I read everything I could get my hands on. The main thing wasn't necessarily having a technique to rely on, but trusting in my body's ability to do it. When I actually went into labor the second time, it was much different. It came on much more quickly than it had the first time, and the pain was surprising even though I'd been though it before. Instead of breathing through the contractions, I found myself moaning through them. Not loudly, just enough to release some of the anxiety I could feel building. I moaned throughout my labor, never got agitated or felt out-of-control, and before I knew it, the whole thing was over. I didn't use any particular kind of breathing techniques or learned relaxation, I just opened up my mind and listened to my body, which knew what to do. No classes necessary.
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#9 of 12 Old 11-11-2003, 07:43 PM
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hi I just wanted to throw in my two cents.

I was single when I had my first, so I think I know a little of what you're going through....

Not to get to personal, but my insurance at the time covered me having a doula AND it just so happened my doula taught childbirth classes as well. I talked to her about my concern on going alone and paying....she fudged the insurance paperwork or something so that instead of meeting with her for one on ones, I could attend her class and SHE was my partner.

So I guess my point is, if you have a doula, talk to her and see if you two can work something out. She may even meet with you a few times to get things straight anyways and that in itself could help.

All the books the other ladies recomended are totally awsome. That was my other prep for my read read! You know what the pain is like so you have a leg up on everyone else.

And, I didn' t see it mentioned, so I'll throw in to read "A Thinking Womans Guide to a Better Birth" by Henci Goer. It's awsome.
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#10 of 12 Old 11-18-2003, 02:26 AM
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As a former CCE, I can tell you in all honesty that most childbirth preparation classes are just PR fronts for the hospital routines.

Any discussion about the dangers of any of the procedures used during a hospital birth is not really considered.

"This is what we do, and if you do not like it, tough. Go somewhere else. This is what we do."

Just my own personal experience, wrought from years of experience in the field.

"Vaccines are like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get - acute hemorrhagic edema of infancy, allergies, diabetes, eczema, petit/gran mal seizures, ADEM, AFP, ASIA, CFS, GBS, JPA, JRA, LGS, LKS, POTS, RA, SJS, SLE, SPD, TPI, Henoch-Schonlein purpua, fibromyalgia, encephalitis, Hughes Syndrome, neurological damage, coma, or death."

~paraphrased from "Forrest Gump"~

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#11 of 12 Old 11-19-2003, 01:31 AM
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I just gave birth (aug 31) for the first time. I didn't attend any birth classes - for a variety of reasons. I did borrow one funky 70's looking lamaze video from the health clinic. I watched enough to know lamaze was not for me! I used alot of guided imagery and practiced yoga breathing while pregnant. That seemed to help alot. I had a completely unmedicated birth. During contractions I was able to put myself in an altered state of consciousness and got through them (the contractions) wonderfully. When it came time to push, for some reason screaming like hell really seemed to help Anyways, I went into birth feeling really comfortable with my ability to cope with the situation without the use of a particular 'technique' (like lamaze, ect). But of course, each person is different and you have to try and figure out what is best for you Anyways, feel free to PM me if you have any particular questions. I would love to be of any help!
umm ilyas

Wife, Mom, Health Services Researcher
Uno ('03) Dos ('08) and Tres (Aug '10)
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#12 of 12 Old 12-23-2003, 02:58 AM - Thread Starter
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ok, after my experience i will tell any pregnant woman i meet that classes or no classes it is all about a good attitude and a good birth partner - thank god i had both. especuially the birth partner. note: she read the emergency section of "the birth partner" book 4 x. if youre interested in the (long) story of my lightning fast very unplanned homebirth, here it is:
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