Birthing Classes – What to Expect and How to Choose
Giving birth is one of the most natural things the female body can do. So why do you need birthing classes? While it may seem counter-intuitive attending a birthing class can be very beneficial and informative. Attending a birthing class can help reduce anxiety around giving birth and help you know what to expect.
What is a birthing class?
A birthing class is a class that you can attend in order to gain some knowledge about the birthing process. Pregnancy and infant care are more widely understood than the actual labor process. These classes are set up by physicians, hospitals, and even private instructors. They provide women, and their partners, with the knowledge and tools to have a good birthing experience.
What you will Learn
Depending on the type of birthing class you decide to take, you can typically expect to learn the following:
Techniques to Relax – such as breathing exercises and distracting yourself.
Labor Positions – finding a labor position that works for you can help to ease the pain and speed up the delivery process.
Pain relief options – they can teach you about when and how to ask for pain medication or for an epidural.
The stages of labor and delivery – this will help you to understand your body’s natural processes and what to expect when you go into labor and throughout the experience.
Possible Complications – and how they can be treated and fixed. This prepares you in case of any complications.
Basics of baby care
Birth planning and assistance. Many women like to go into their labor with a birthing plan, these classes can help you write one out and assist you with choosing the type of birth you want to have.
Medical interventions that are used during labor. This can include an emergency C-section.
Hands-on Knowledge of alternative pain relief techniques – including breathing and relaxation.
Benefits of Birthing Classes
Birthing classes are incredibly beneficial for parents looking to educate themselves on what to expect before, during, and after labor. Not only do these classes inform you and ease your anxiety about the labor experience, but other benefits can come from participating in a birthing class as well. Such benefits include:
Connecting with your partner on a deeper level.
Befriending other couples who are expecting.
Addressing your fears or concerns about childbirth.
Confidence in yourself and your ability to give birth.
Different Types of Classes
In birthing classes, the actual material and teaching style will be different depending on the instructor and the type of birthing class. There are a few common types of birthing classes that many women use and find to be helpful. These are their names and what they might involve:
Lamaze: Lamaze is a type of relaxation technique class. The main objective of this class is to teach the mother how to breathe through labor and her partner how to coach her on. While they do teach available pain medications, these classes typically advocate for a natural approach to labor without a minimal amount of medical intervention.
The Bradley Method: These classes focus on preparing the mother for a natural birth without the assistance of medication.
Hypnobirthing: This technique promotes the use of deep relaxation and the removal of fear and tension from your body. It claims that this state of deep relaxation (a kind of meditative hypnosis) will allow you to have a pain free childbirth.
Birthing from Within: These birthing classes focus on preparing the couple for the life journey ahead of them. They don’t focus on the information and data portion of giving birth but on the “transformational” experience of bringing forth life. The classes address the deeper needs of the couple and less on the medical aspects of childbirth.
International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA): These classes take a more rounded approach to birthing classes and try to educate mothers on all the options available to them.
When to Take a Birthing Class
There are some birthing classes that you can take in the early trimesters that help you throughout your pregnancy. These classes focus mostly on nutrition during pregnancy, exercise, and the baby’s development over the months. However, you take most traditional birthing classes when you are around 7-8 months pregnant. These birthing classes focus on the labor, delivery, and postpartum portions of pregnancy.
How to Find One
Ok, now that you know what to expect at a class, the different types of classes, and when to take a class; you are probably wondering how to find one near you. Well, the first step would be to talk to your primary care physician. Your doctor will suggest a meeting in your area that is suited to your needs. They may even conduct a birthing class themselves and you could possibly get a tour of the hospital where you would be giving birth.
If you aren’t having any luck with a physician you can also reach out to other mothers in your area and ask for their recommendations. And if you still aren’t having luck, a quick Google search can typically help you out.
Some birthing classes can also address postpartum care for the mother. These classes can help you to understand what to expect in your postpartum body and help you to overcome some struggles you may have. It can be incredibly difficult to get back to feeling confident and sexy in your postpartum body, but Bellefit is here to help. We designed postpartum girdles to help you feel your best and speed up your recovery process. Check out our selection today!
We hope this article has helped you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing a birthing class. Tell us about your birth experience in the comments below!