Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Waste or Want #8: Birthing Classes

Okay, I don't know if this is really a waste or a want, but wanted to find out people's opinion on birthing classes!

Description: There are many types of birthing methods and classes out there, such as hypno birth, LaMaze, and the Bradley method to name a few. Usually, if you are doing a class, they are 8 to 12 weeks and teach more than just birthing methods, but some basics every new parent should know or be reminded of.

Cost: Can vary, my LaMaze class was $50.

On the one hand ...
Birthing classes are very informative and can help women learn pain management skills and breathing techniques to help with labor. They also can be very helpful in choosing the type of labor you would like to have, whether it be medicated or non-medicated.

On the other hand ...
Some might find birthing classes or methods too restrictive to one way of thinking and feel uncomfortable with all that they push.

And now tell us your opinion!

Birthing Classes: Waste or Want?

and don't forget to tell us why!


Alyssa Harper said...

WASTE. My doctor even told my husband to save his money and take me out to dinner. (Love that man). Anyway, women have been having babies for eons (with much success, I might add) without taking a little pre-course. My friends who did take one, told me that it wasn't very helpful, because you usually forget most of the little details by the time you're going into full labor. In my opinion, my doctor and nurses taught me all I needed to know AS I was giving birth. Breathing techniques and pain management aren't THAT hard to learn. Really. You'll pick it up in a snap in the delivery room.

I would read up whatever you want on the internet, like whether you want it medicated or not. Maybe ask some of your mom friends if you're curious for more details, but skip the class. You're pretty much going to be taught whatever opinion the teacher happens to have, which isn't much different than just asking your friends for input.

Megan said...

For me it was a want. We took a class through our local hospital and the instructor was great! She didn't really share her opinion on what you should but gave a through explanation of everything to expect and it really helped me feel like I could go through labor and do fine. Some of the breathing techniques I was taught actually came in really handy because the nurse would never have believed as was as far a long in my labor as I was without them.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I'd say WANT, for me.... but everyone is different. Alyssa's point is super valid, women have been having babies for centuries. :) We survive!!

I say want because I LIKE to be informed. I took a class and I felt VERY knowledgeable about what was going on with my body when I was in labor, so I felt a little bit more in control of myself. I also like to be prepared for the unexpected and that helped a lot.

I did take LaMaze with the idea that I was probably going to go with an epidural and you know what? My instructor went over EVERY birth scenario. She talked about going medicated and non medicated and c-sections, so it was very informative. I felt like she wasn't pushing anything. She just said to have an open mind.

I do think that if you are seriously considering going natural you SHOULD go through a birthing class. I have a friend who was serious about natural child birth and said that her class was invaluable. Those breathing techniques really saved her.

I've also heard nurses say the same. They've said that women who come in and want to go natural and haven't practiced breathing or anything usually cave and can't make it. But those that are prepared and have practiced do fine.

Again... to each his own. But I liked my childbirth class the first time.

Would I take one again? No. Not now that I'm on my third, and not even on my second.

Laura said...

I've debated this one myself. We never did take a class, and I have two kids, so apparently we still figured something out. :) I personally am a big fan of the epidural, though, so I don't think the need for natural pain management was at all the same as if I had tried to go natural.

I do think it could have helped the first time around--I really had no idea what to expect (I was probably in denial that that part was actually going to happen--ha). I didn't really know what was really going on with my body, or what the general procedures were and what to expect the nurses and doctors to do. That would have been nice to know, like Tannie was saying. I also had never visited the hospital prior to being in labor--that was a bad plan. We had no idea where anything was and it's not so lovely to figure out while having contractions.

Some classes are offered as a weekend course, 5-8 hours each day or something. That could be good to have the basic run-down of where to go and what's going to happen, just to be prepared that way. If you're planning on going natural, a full birthing class would probably be more worth it.

Raylyn said...

Want! I loved getting a tour of the hospital and knowing exactly what I needed to do when I went into labor; like who to call and where to check in. I don't know how much all the breathing techniques helped me, but the class helped me feel much more confident and prepared:)

Erin said...

I think if you are planning on having an epidural, there isn't much need. I think reading books about what to expect at birth and taking a little tour of the L&D would be sufficient. I'm planning a natural birth using Hypnobabies, and I really wish they had classes nearby. I would love it not only for the expertise of the instructor, but for being able to meet some other moms who were planning a natural birth and get support. I know that I will only be able to have a natural birth if I am mentally prepared, so it's important to me. They don't have classes close by so I am doing the homestudy course.

I do however, think that if you are planning on nursing, a breastfeeding class is invaluable. I didn't think it would be so hard or there would be so much to learn, and it was one of the best things I did to get ready for my baby.

Tressa said...

Want. The birthing class we took was generic and although I found some books I read to be more helpful, a quick overview of the basics and especially the tour of the hospital helped to put me at ease (well, relatively speaking, I'll be honest I was quite worried about the whole thing).

I really liked that the class was just over a weekend. It was a lot of info all at once, but it still gave us a chance to practice and didn't feel drug out so long. I really thought it was great to help me, and especially my husband, know what to expect.

The most helpful thing for us though was a Hypnobirthing book by Marie Mongan. May sound a little weird- at least it did to me at first - but it was great. I wanted a natural birth and the ideas in the book really helped me and my husband. I was, as I said, quite nervous, but the book helped me realize that I could do it &, like Alyssa said, it has been done for centuries! I wanted a natural birth, and it was mostly that, but the principles it taught even helped me deal better with the unexpected things that came up. We had a very positive experience the first time when we'd prepared and practiced - more rough the second time when I hadn't brushed up & used the techniques as well - but definitely better than nothing.

So, my point - if you don't take a birthing class, I'd suggest some type of education to prepare you - even if you plan for an epidural because sometimes you don't have the choice (there wouldn't have been time with my second). Be aware that books can have very strong opinions, so you have to pick and choose what's right for you. I liked the hypnobirthing because it focused a lot on positive thinking and although it encouraged natural birthing, it also encouraged working with, not against, healthcare professionals.

Lisa said...

Want. Want. Want. My husband and I took a birthing class with both our first and second babies. We chose to have unmedicated deliveries with both, so birthing class was a must.

I recommend that everyone take at least one birthing class for several reasons.

#1- Learn coping techniques and what is considered within the range of "normal" for labor and delivery. It is easy to read about and learn about relaxation techniques on your own, but come show time it is really hard to remember them. Also, a birthing class is just as much for the dad as the mom. Dad's need practice too! The birthing class is a chance to learn techniques for a variety of situations and practice them! If you are prepared, the fear lessens.

#2-Learning about delivery and what situations, normal and unexpected, can arise empower you and your husband to be advocates for yourself and your baby. If something happens and you know what the hospital staff is talking about you are better able to make educated decisions. Remember, it is YOUR baby and YOUR delivery. You need to be an active and informed participant in all decisions.

#3-Birthing classes help open a dialogue between with you and your husband about your views toward childbirth. I loved taking classes with my husband because we were able to go to class together each week (our class was a 12 week course). The class brought up topics that we had never thought to discuss, but because of the class we were able to talk about and come to a consensus. When I went into labor we were confident about our desires and knew how to communicate with each other because we had done so much preparation before.

That is a long post, but birth is a very important issue to me. I believe that the more a woman knows the better able she is be her own advocate. Regardless of how you choose to deliver (unmedicated, epidural or c-section) the choice should be yours.

Britta said...

I had an unmedicated childbirth with my second and never had a birthing class. I can see how helpful a class would be but during our first pregnancy, we didn't have the money or the time. We had a baby, we survived. The second time around I didn't bother and I think we did just fine. So if it doesn't work out, don't freak. If it sets you at ease, go for it.