As an independent childbirth educator & doula, I work with a lot of different types of moms. Some with their first, some with their sixth. Moms who are super confident and excited and moms who are anxious and still in denial that they will be having a baby soon (you know who you are!) I feel like it is part of my job to make sure they know that during birth they have choices and they have a voice in those choices.
I generally suggest to moms, even if they have had other babies and haven’t had any sort of problem or negative experience, do some sort of refresher education. Even if you had your babies close together, chances are there is new evidence, new recommendations, and new procedures available in the year since your previous birth. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not one to just settle for good enough. I think there is always more to learn and improve upon.
In our area, there are a number of independent childbirth educators like myself. All of our local doulas also offer prenatal visits to their clients where they sit down and help you identify any questions you have and then they help you understand your options. There are also the standard hospital sponsored classes that many people take. Do I recommend any one of these above another (well of course, you should take mine!)
Times when someone should NOT take a childbirth class?
- You should not take a birthing class if, you don’t want to know where babies come from, but if you’re already pregnant, unfortunately its probably too late…
- You should not take a birthing class if, you don’t want to know whats going on during birth and are totally OK with being clueless when your provider asks you questions.
- You should not take a birthing class if, you think its good enough to just write a birth plan, without really understanding what each point actually means.
- You should not take a birthing class if, you prefer to be stressed out and lack confidence, because, who needs to be brave if you’re having a baby?
So, what are some reasons you may want to actually consider taking an independent childbirth class?
- Well, if you haven’t had a baby before you REALLY need to learn about birth. Work with a doula or take class, but don’t just depend on Google to educate you or rely solely on your sister’s experience.
- If you’ve had a baby before, guess what, each birth is going to be different. Sometimes very, very different and not at all what you remember (which leads me to the next bullet…)
- And if you’ve had a baby before, you know your brain cells are already half gone by now anyway, better get some refresher info.
- Private education is not based on policies, instead its based on YOU. Hospitals have varying maternity policies, so whoever makes the decisions can influence what you hear, as well as what you can and can’t do.
- More focus on dad instead of just pain relief. A support person who panics or is unsettled may only suggest pain relief, instead of actual support that mom needs. Most hospital based classes focus on pain relief rather than support.
Why am I so insistent on childbirth education? Why do I feel SO PASSIONATE about this topic? Because, and repeat after me, “If I don’t know my options, I don’t have any.” And this doesn’t just apply to moms, even though I primarily direct my comments to them. Birth partners and dads need to know what choices they have and how they can help mom with hers. FURTHERMORE, taking a birth class isn’t just for people expecting to have “an all natural birth experience” because even moms who plan to get an epidural or have a scheduled c-section can and will benefit from knowing more about how their body and birth works. One of your options is to not take a birthing class, another is that you do.
Brandi is a childbirth educator and birth doula living in West Fargo, ND. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, knitting and filling up her craft room with new projects when she isn’t helping families create their birth experience. You can find her actively posting on Facebook & Instagram. #dayspringdoula