The experience of bringing your baby into this world is one that you’ll never forget, so preparing for it is as important (way more really) as cramming for one of your final exams in college. There are many ways that you can prepare for childbirth such as:
- Taking childbirth education classes
- Relying on friends and family members advice and experiences
- The internet and all that comes with that (Dr. Google, mommy forums, blogs, etc) or
- Letting Your Care Providers (OB, Midwife, etc) call the shots
Though any and all of that may work for some (maybe minus random strangers who want to give you advice), childbirth education classes provide an opportunity for guided conversation, evidence-based information, and a whole lot more.
Here are 3 more important reasons to take Childbirth Education Classes.
Childbirth Classes Can Help You Achieve Many Goals
Every woman is different, therefore her goals for pregnancy, labor and childbirth classes may vary.
Here are some goals that childbirth classes can help you achieve:
- Increase your self-confidence and help you prepare for labor
- Teach you about pain management during labor
- Teach your partner how to support you
- Prepare you for parenting and breastfeeding
- Create a social support network and an opportunity to meet other parents in your community going through the same experiences
Several of these goals may resonate, or maybe just one. Or maybe you have a different one. Be sure to research childbirth education classes to ensure your goals will be met.
Understand Pain Management Perspectives and Approaches
Researchers have proposed that there are two perspectives to pain during labor:
- Pain relief
- Coping with pain/working with pain.
The pain relief perspective is the view that pain during labor is unnecessary and that we should do whatever we can to eliminate it using pain medications (with the benefits of medications viewed as outweighing the risks).
Coping with pain or working with pain is the view that pain is a normal part of labor and that it’s necessary to encourage you to move to help birth your baby. In the right environment with the right support, women can cope better with the pain of labor.
Understanding these perspectives and what you resonate with can help you choose the right care provider and/or location for your birth, and help to open up a dialogue with your care providers to ensure you’re on the same page when it comes to their approach to pain and your goals.
Childbirth Education Can Help You Understand How to Manage Pain and Potentially Reduce Suffering
Pain is the physical sensation you feel; in labor, this will come with the contractions. Suffering is the judgment of, resistance to or distress as it relates to the pain you’re feeling. Both can be equally detrimental to a woman’s experience and childbirth classes can help you better manage the pain and potentially reduce suffering by:
- reducing anxiety and fear through education and information
- teaching partner support techniques
- teaching breath, movement and mindfulness practices
- teaching comfort measures
- informing you on the benefits and risks of pharmacological pain management so you know your options
Understanding the difference between pain and suffering during labor and having a set of tools to support yourself can play a major role in you having an empowered birth experience.
The bottom line is, childbirth education classes can help to reduce anxiety and fear around childbirth, create clarity around your goals and intentions, and help arm you with a solid foundation for what lies ahead. Birth is unpredictable, however, most women and their partners who have positive experiences will tell you that it wasn’t because it went exactly as they intended, it was because they had the information they needed to feel empowered in their choices and experience.
Dawn Herring is a wife and Mama of two babes, born a little over a year apart. She is a Childbirth Education Teacher, Birth and Postpartum Doula, recovering perfectionist and Empowerer of Mamas. She teaches classes and serves women and families in the Tampa Bay Area. Learn more about her at www.
empoweredbirthsandbeginnings. com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/empoweredbirthsandbeginnings.com/events/