Natural Childbirth Classes at Newton Wellesley or Isis Maternity - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 01-19-2009, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Has anyone here taken the Natural Childbirth Classes at either Newton Welleley or Isis Maternity? I would love to hear how they went and if they offered decent amount of coping/relaxation strategies with time to practice? I am also considering Bradely classes, but DH has not been comfortable/happy with that option for a bunch of reasons, so we are looking for an alternative that would work better for both of us. I am giving birth at Mt. Auburn, but I am concerned that their Natural Childbirth class is over one intensive weekend, which would give me less structured class time to practice relaxation techniques and less time to process information and develop questions between classes. I would much prefer the same information spread out over a 6 week course with plenty of time to practice and process. What have people here taken/recommend?

Thanks in advance,
Emily

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#2 of 14 Old 01-19-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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I took the one at Isis and it was just mediocre, at best. I really liked the instructor, but I didn't feel like I got too much out of the class and don't see how it was specific to "natural" childbirth. There was an entire session on pitocin, c-section, epidural, etc. While I can see that that is probably good information to know b/c most hospital births end up with something on that list, I was kind of annoyed by it. I can't speak to other classes, but personally, I found my doula to be the most helpful and valuable source of information.
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#3 of 14 Old 01-19-2009, 06:03 PM
 
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I took the one at Isis as well, and thought it was okay. I didn't learn anything that I hadn't already read in books, and didn't come away with any real relaxation techniques. The instructor was nice, but it probably wasn't the most helpful class out there. Oddly enough, I got a lot out of a CD that my mother gave me on preparing for childbirth-not something that I expected! But hey, it helped me a lot!!
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#4 of 14 Old 01-20-2009, 03:18 PM
 
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Mothers and Company in Boylston also has classes. They have a Natural Childbirth Class, Movement & Comfort for Labor, and Hypnobirthing.
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#5 of 14 Old 01-20-2009, 05:48 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mrs.aLifeofReilly View Post
Mothers and Company in Boylston also has classes. They have a Natural Childbirth Class, Movement & Comfort for Labor, and Hypnobirthing.
A second vote for MoCo!

The "natural" childbirth class I took at Newton Wellesley several years ago was similar to the one earthgirl describes at Isis. A lot of time/focus spent on discussing interventions.

There are also many independent childbirth educators in the area who teach small group or one-on-one classes.

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#6 of 14 Old 01-20-2009, 06:12 PM
 
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I have to vote for Bradley...having usually a 10-12 week class means you are highly informed, get to watch great birth videos, and couples or moms and thier support partners get to practice great relaxation techniques at each class. I think when preparing for birth and parenting committing to once a week for 10-12 weeks is totally acceptable! It is one of the most important days of your lives and you will never forget it.

Good luck in your decisions and with your birth!
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#7 of 14 Old 01-20-2009, 06:23 PM
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I vote for Bradley. We took a private class - two saturdays, 8+ hours each time, about 7 weeks apart, with weekly homework and emails in between. The best life-changing thing I've ever done. Totally changed how I think about everything, not just birth. Loved our teacher so much, that we hired her as our doula.

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#8 of 14 Old 01-20-2009, 06:55 PM
 
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I took the class at Isis a few years ago, and really liked it. The instructor was terrific. I really do credit that class in my having a natural childbirth.

I wasn't super dedicated to natural childbirth before the class, though -- I went into it thinking I'd get as many coping mechanisms in my toolkit as possible from it, but I wasn't do-or-die at the time about it.

I think the class was the turning point for me, though, in going from "maybe..." to "yes, I can". And if I hadn't taken the class, I probably would have wound up with an epidural, thinking it was the thing to do.

So, you probably get out of it what you bring to it, you know? Hard core crunchies might not have liked it as much as I did.

Side note -- I think that, out of 10-12 couples in the class, I was the only one that wound up going natural...
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#9 of 14 Old 01-20-2009, 08:17 PM
 
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If you do decide on Bradley, classes are 12 weeks long. I noticed from your ticker that you're already 24 weeks along so you should sign up soon if that's the route you decide to take. I'm a Bradley teacher in the Leominster area, but if you're from Boston there are other instructors who are closer to you. I would recommend Ann Marie Lindquist in Lexington. You can find her info on the Bradley website.

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#10 of 14 Old 01-21-2009, 10:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the advice and input! I would prefer the Bradley classes, but we went to the first class last week and DH is really uncomfortable with them. He has been very resistant to returning (the class this week was canceled due to the weather, but we need to decide by next Monday if we are continuing with this class or not). He feels that the classes are too "anti-medical" and one sided and wants a more balanced perspective, and he isn't crazy about the 12 week commitment. I really want the practice with coping techniques in a structured class setting since I know I do better with that, and would like him to understand why a natural birth is important to me. However, he has been so unhappy and difficult about the Bradley class, that I don't know if he will actually be open minded enough to learn anything during them, so now I'm looking for other options that will get me the structured class practice I need and the education on natural birth that he needs without seeming so one sided. I haven't had much luck so far, I was hoping that the Newton Wellesley classes might be a good compromise. The Mother and Co. classes sound great, but are too far away to be reasonable given our current schedule. Any other good ideas in the Boston area? Thanks,

Emily

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#11 of 14 Old 01-22-2009, 12:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chinaKat View Post
I wasn't super dedicated to natural childbirth before the class, though -- I went into it thinking I'd get as many coping mechanisms in my toolkit as possible from it, but I wasn't do-or-die at the time about it.

I think the class was the turning point for me, though, in going from "maybe..." to "yes, I can". And if I hadn't taken the class, I probably would have wound up with an epidural, thinking it was the thing to do.
I think this is a great reason to take a class. I'm glad it helped you achieve a natural birth!

Just another opinion though--I agree with my midwife, her sister, and my mother, in that I think the classes are unnecessary if you know you want a natural birth. If you are confident you can do it, then I say forgo the classes as they are a waste of money, because everyone's coping mechanisms during labor and birth are soooo individual (and even what you think you might need during labor might be dramatically different from what you actually desire once you're in the middle of it).
As for Bradley, I personally don't care for the "birth coach" approach (though 2 of my sisters loved it). I feel that birth is a solo journey for the mother, no matter who or how many support persons surround her. Many mothers end up not wanting their husbands close during labor, and sometimes don't want anyone at all near them or touching them. Not that that will be the case for you, but just realize it's a possibility. Many of us want no touching, sound, movement, etc from anyone, and just turn in to ourselves to find the strength to birth a baby.
And it can also differ from birth to birth.
I'd just hate to have you "practice" one approach and then find that it is not at all helpful for you during labor. I think reading up on many different approaches and maybe writing down the "punch line" from each to have available as coping options during labor would be more helpful personally.

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#12 of 14 Old 01-22-2009, 02:33 PM
 
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Well, I think birthing (like breastfeeding) while natural, still needs to be taught. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where most women don't have natural and spontaneous births anymore. We also live in a culture where most women give up on breastfeeding after a few weeks. In the olden days women were surrounded by other women (such as their mothers, grandmothers, friends) who could teach them how to breastfeed and what to expect during a natural childbirth. Today most women (and men) have never even seen a natural childbirth and really don't know what to expect. So I do think it is important to take classes (not necessarily Bradley, though I am most confident in this method since it's what I teach and what I use myself), ESPECIALLY if birthing in a hospital since on average 1 and 3 women are getting c-sections these days. Giving birth naturally and spontaneously in a hospital these days requires more than just knowing how to relax. I wish that weren't the case.

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#13 of 14 Old 01-22-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by earthgirl View Post
I took the one at Isis and it was just mediocre, at best. I really liked the instructor, but I didn't feel like I got too much out of the class and don't see how it was specific to "natural" childbirth. There was an entire session on pitocin, c-section, epidural, etc. While I can see that that is probably good information to know b/c most hospital births end up with something on that list, I was kind of annoyed by it. I can't speak to other classes, but personally, I found my doula to be the most helpful and valuable source of information.
My experience - exactly!
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#14 of 14 Old 02-09-2009, 08:11 PM
 
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I took the Natural Childbirth class at Isis and liked it for what it was. It was more of a prepared childbirth class (stages of labor, when to go to the hospital, what to pack, etc) with some natural childbirth tips and tricks thrown in. It could have been more comprehensive for sure, but I don't think that it was a bad class.

I think it was more valuable in the sense that it really helped my husband to understand what we were in for. I could talk about birth until I was blue in the face and he just wasn't going to get it until he heard it from someone else.

In the end it was just another part of my preparation. I was glad to have gone and I was glad to have done all of the reading that I had. Those 2 really helped me feel prepared, but deep down I think a lot of my success was rooted in my own self-confidence and sheer determination.
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