What are the marks of a truly excellent childbirth class?
With so many different options for childbirth classes out there, which one do you choose?
This is a fun little quiz to use to see how the classes you have been considering actually rate. Good luck!
True or False Quiz
Childbirth classes should . . .
1. Tell you all you need to know to have the perfect experience.
But your class should teach you how to have the best experience possible. Birth, just like most all other aspects of life, is unpredictable. It can’t be planned. What you can do is become educated about the options and their pros and cons. You can learn how to make as gentle and safe a welcome for your baby as you possibly can.
2. Present information about how to have a healthier and more comfortable birth experience.
3. Teach you how to breathe.
True and False
What have you heard your friends say about the breathing techniques they learned in their classes? Were they able to totally get through with learned, patterned breathing? How many women have you heard say that they became frustrated with their husbands for counting wrong, and so on? These patterned breathing techniques take a woman out of her laboring mind, making her less able to work with what is going on within her body. Ironically, even though learning breathing techniques is one of the main things that couples expect from classes today, most classes that teach patterned-breathing don’t have high rates of women that end up going without pain medication during their births. Of course, in other situations involving pain, these breathing techniques can be helpful because they are distractive. In labor, though, a woman needs to be able to naturally go within as instinct directs, to meet the sensations and work with them. This makes labor so much easier. Simple deep abdominal breathing can be extremely helpful to a woman who wishes to be able to relax and go to that “inner place.” Deep abdominal and slow breathing are natural and help a woman to relax and allow her body to do what it was made to do. Classes that help you to prepare with deep abdominal breathing are teaching a worthwhile skill to prepare for labor. Regularly practicing this technique prior to labor can help you to find your way to that place within yourself in labor, where you can welcome the experience of labor.
4. Give you a vision of what the experience of birth can be.
As you attend your class, your vision of birth should come to include the spiritual and emotional aspects of birth and not just the physical. A woman’s body takes care of the physical aspects of the process without any need for knowledge about it on her part. The spiritual and emotional elements of birth are misunderstood and largely dismissed in our culture’s way of birthing. Women are taught to believe that as long as their baby is okay, that this is all that matters. Many women feel that their births were at the least what they would call unpleasant experiences. They are forgiving of pain and humiliation, believing that this is the price that must be paid for bearing children. Families need to know that under normal circumstances, they and their baby really can have a dignified, safe, and wonderful experience in which all of the elements of birth, including the spiritual and emotional ones are considered as important as the physical ones. Taking the same classes everyone else is taking will most likely get you the same kind of birth everyone else is getting.
5. Offer tips on how to birth within the birthing system you choose.
Many classes do not deal with this subject at all. This is one of the most important reasons for taking classes. Families need to know about the current practices and procedures being performed, and their risks and benefits, so that they can make the decisions that are best for themselves. Some educators and caregivers don’t want to scare you, so they do not give you all of the facts about every option. They may be educators for, or be affiliated with, a certain birth place that performs interventions routinely, so their classes may not necessarily be consumer-oriented. This is your body and your baby. You have the right to know the facts about what happens in various places of birth. You should be able to make decisions that are right for you and your baby, and say no to those that are not right.
6. Allow you the opportunity to get to know others in the class.
Sharing the experience of preparing for your birth and new little one with others who are also preparing, can be one of the most satisfying aspects of the class. However, many classes, especially ones that are large, do not give ample opportunity for this kind of interaction. These classes may provide long-lasting relationships with others going through the same life experiences. You must be willing to be friendly and reach out.
7. Be fun.
8. Have you memorize terms.
It isn’t as if you have to pass a test to give birth and have the best experience possible. But it is good to have a basic knowledge beforehand of the different options and whether you would choose them or not. Studying this book and writing birth wishes as you go along, can help you to do this in an easy, efficient way.
9. Give you the knowledge of how to birth your baby.
Your body knows instinctively how to have a baby. Women’s bodies were made to give birth! You don’t need anyone to teach you how to have your baby. As well, women do not routinely need anyone to take their babies out of them or “deliver” them. If you were in a cabin in the woods in a snowstorm that blocked you from getting out when you went into labor, chances are you would have your baby without any real problems. The knowledge is within your body!
10. Offer useful information about how to avoid medications, if this is your
Because teaching people how to birth without pain medication was an important part of childbirth classes when they first began, many people still believe that childbirth classes today are still about how to have your baby without medication. This is not the goal of numerous classes today, particularly those given by a hospital. Teachers of some classes assume that almost all women want epidurals, and so they spend less time on comfort techniques and more time on subjects such as when and how they will receive medication. One of the main roles of this particular type of class is to educate parents about what to expect at the hospital, how their birth will be managed, and what they can do to act in accordance with the requirements of the hospital. Seek out classes that have been helpful to people who have had the kind of birth you would hope to have.
11. Give you information and help you to prepare to make decisions beforehand so that you will have the freedom to birth peacefully.
Being given the opportunity to study about your different options can empower you to choose the kind of care you need. When preparations are in place, ideally you will be able to let go and safely birth in awareness and peace.