by Jennifer Shakeel
Birthing classes are classes for those that are expecting and the purpose of the class is to teach the expect mother what to expect during labor and delivery. They teach you different pain management options such as breathing or medication or hypnotherapy. Their goal is really to provide the mom to be with confidence that she can infact do this. These classes are usually put on by hospitals, you can find them at the hospital you plan on delivering at, but not all expectant moms take the classes. Which begs the question, do you really need the class before you have the baby?
There isn't really an easy answer to this question. That is because the baby is coming whether you take the classes or not, it isn't like you have to take the class in order to have the baby. It is a matter of how well do you want to be prepared for what is going to happen during labor and delivery. The classes prepare you for general labor and delivery… not necessarily your labor and delivery.
You have a choice when it comes to birthing classes that you could take. There are a variety of classes you could take. Here are four possible classes:
Lamaze Class, actually when you think about a birthing class this is the first one that comes to mind. Not too long ago it was the only class type there was. Lamaze strives to increase your confidence in your ability to give birth. Here you will learn different coping strategies to deal with the contractions and the pushing. The belief of Lamaze is that any woman has the right to give birth without the interference of medical interventions, but they do not look down on those that chose to use pain relief medications or other interventions.
Then there is the Bradley Method. The purpose of The Bradley Method is that it stresses the importance of having a natural childbirth. The class is very personalized and they go over everything from exercise during pregnancy to nutrition to postpartum care and even breastfeeding.
HypnoBirthing is a newer and less well known class. The purpose of the class is to teach to you to be focused on having a relaxed and natural childbirth. (Personally I laugh at the thought of child birth being relaxed. I was not a screamer, I never called my husband names… but I wouldn't say I was anywhere near relaxed.) The method teaches you that, in the absence of fear and tension, or special medical circumstances, severe pain does not have to be an accompaniment of labor. It hopes to free parents from the fear of birthing and trust natural instincts.
One class that I think all parents should take is Infant CPR. No one ever wants to think about needing this, but it is an excellent skill to know and have. A CPR class can be taken at your local Red Cross, hospital or birthing class center. A certified instructor will teach you what to do if your baby is choking or isn't moving or breathing.
Whether you chose to take a class or not is going to be completely up to you. You can do the research at home, online or read a book from the library. But if you are looking for a place that can provide you with professionals that can answer your questions then looking into a birthing class is a good idea. You may be wondering what I did, as a nurse.
With my first child, over 15 years ago now… I took a Lamaze class. We watched a movie on two women giving birth… we practiced breathing exercises and they worked with my husband on how to be supportive through labor and delivery. It was nice; really the best part was the other classmates. There isn't anything funnier than having 10 pregnant women on the floor and watching them try to get up. It gets better… I was in labor and didn't even know it. Went to the hospital, hard labor lasted 35 minutes and there was my first daughter. Did I use anything that I learned from class? No, that all left my head during the contractions when I had to push.
Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience. As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!
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