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What to look for in a childbirth class…

Attending birth classes can go a long way toward relieving the fear, anxiety and doubt that so many women and their partners have about labor and delivery. These classes tend to build confidence in your ability to give birth. Birth education is also an important tool in making informed decisions and having the labor and birth you want.

Here are some tips and suggestions as to what you can expect at a birth education class and how you can find the right class for you.

What Happens in the Class?

Usually, you will attend the class with your partner if possible. Some couples say the classes brought them closer together.

Depending on what childbirth course you choose you may learn some of the following.

* How the process of birth works. Unfortunately the tradition of childbirth in America has been lost.  There are several reasons for this, mostly due to medical interventions such as “twilight sleep” starting about 100 years ago. Our grandmothers gave birth in a state that left them with no memory of the birth process. They weren’t empowered or educated on childbirth so they were rightfully scared. 

 Generations later women have no idea of how their birthing body works, how to trigger relaxation during childbirth or what to do when situations arise. Yes, we have medical professionals to help but their knowledge may be limited to the paradigm they work in. As we know, healthcare models may have priorities that differ from your own. 

 Childbirth classes will help explain this. This helps take the surprise out of the labor process – it can be very powerful – and if you don’t know what’s going on, it can be frightening. 

* If you take a course focused on a “natural” or “physiologic” childbirth you will likely learn relaxation techniques as well as other non drug methods to prevent and manage what’s known as the “fear, tension, pain cycle.

If you take a class at the hospital, they will familiarize you with possible Interventions and hospital procedures such as pain medications that are available. One downside of a hospital class is that you might not get access to potential side effects of the interventions or be introduced to natural alternatives. 

* The class should offer opportunities for you to ask questions, share fears and experiences, and/or assure others. 

* We recommend finding a class that teaches your partner how best to support you during labor. 

* How to Find a Class That’s Right for You
Choosing the right class is a decision that goes along with determining the childbirth model you choose.

If you choose an alternative birth in the hospital, it’s a good idea to take an independent class teaching the methods you want to incorporate into your childbirth. You can find practitioners teaching natural childbirth using relaxation, hypnosis, and massage to prevent and mitigate the pain that so many women expect during childbirth. 

It’s also a good idea to tour the maternity ward and ask questions regarding the hospital’s policies regarding interventions and such. 

Here’s some birth techniques you’ve probably heard of:  

* Lamaze, The Bradley Method, and Hypnobirthing

These classes have varied lengths and 

* If you choose a conventional hospital birth, your local hospital will probably offer classes on site as part of your plan to birth in their facility.

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