Are you pregnant and trying to decide if you'll take a childbirth class? Educating yourself is an excellent way to prepare for a healthy pregnancy, an amazing birth and a healthy new baby.
Top Five Reasons YOU Need a Childbirth Class
1. Knowledge is Power. Classes can help mothers and fathers truly understand what to expect during pregnancy, how to confidently prepare for birth, and make informed choices. Many childbirth education classes, such as Birth Boot Camp, educate couples about what to expect during pregnancy and birth, such as, prenatal testing options, eating nutritionally, exercises to help prepare for birth, understanding body changes during pregnancy, stages of birth, breastfeeding, and even how to prepare for the unexpected. Knowing your options and having good childbirth preparation can empower you to make the right choices for your pregnancy and as you prepare for the birth you desire!
2. Accountability. When you take a childbirth class and attend for several weeks, it helps build your accountability to stay up with the information you are learning such as eating right, exercising, and researching your birth choices. Your fellow classmates can often become friends that support you during this exciting time of pregnancy, in preparing for the birth and for the journey of motherhood.
3. It's a Date. Whether it's your first baby or seventh, date night (or day) is essential to your marriage, especially during pregnancy. Childbirth classes help set a specific night each week that you and your partner have to get away. Couples often learn a lot about each other when taking a childbirth class. It can help build intimacy, support and communication for one another too. Life after kids will not be the same, so make time for each other while you can.
4. Independent Childbirth Educators Work for You. Childbirth educators are specifically trained to know a lot about pregnancy and birth. An independent educator is one that works for you as the couple and not for an organization or care provider. Having an independent educator can be helpful when prepping for a birth in any setting because the education she is providing isn't necessarily influenced by care providers or birth places. Many childbirth educators may also be doulas, midwives, or work in another area of pregnancy which gives them an even greater wealth of knowledge for their students.
5. Curriculum and Information for Success. Childbirth classes are structured to help mothers and fathers learn...A LOT. Classes come with workbooks and are designed to help parents fully understand what happens during pregnancy, the process of birth, and breastfeeding and parenting information. Teaching tools, such as, birth videos, handouts, charts, and games help couples to interact and learn from one another. Some mothers feel that reading books about pregnancy and childbirth are enough, but I have found that not all dads are as "gung ho" about reading as the mother is and he often feels a bit unprepared and overwhelmed come birthing time.
I like to encourage families to consider taking time for a natural childbirth class for all the reasons listed above. Birth Boot Camp is a 10-week course. Other "good" courses range from 6-12 weeks long. This often times is a huge commitment for couples and families but very much worth the time. But, if one night a week for several weeks is absolutely not an option for your lifestyle or you are in an area that doesn't have access to amazing childbirth education, I would encourage you to consider taking a comprehensive chldbirth class online that can offer you the same education (just without the interaction with other couples).
To receive $25 off online classes, please email me at email@example.com for your promo code!
I wish you the best of luck and many blessings as you prepare for an amazing birth and welcome your new baby!
"Had our first class tonight. It's our second baby and our second time for education! So looking forward to the rest of class. Thank you, Hannah Reasoner, for a great start!" ~NH
Several years ago I began to truly understand the mind, body connection. When I delved into the world of birth and even had my first child, the importance of that connection became very clear. I've also seen some very quick births happen after I've had a mother come for an acupressure session where I encourage her to take note of where she is emotionally and let it all come out. When a mom can have that emotional release of fear, anger, hurt, saddness, anxiety, etc, many times birth is not far away. How can you deny the connection after seeing that?!
Not long ago I wrote this post about leaving the birthing and postpartum mother be. Now that I am 26 weeks pregnant with my second child, the sacredness of pregnancy and birth is really hitting home for me and I wanted to add some more thoughts to that post.
I recently had a conversation with a new mom who had been in my natural childbirth class last fall. She revealed to me that she had been deeply criticized by some of her closest friends about some decisions she and her husband were making during her labor and birth. During her four day labor, she and her husband decided to close off communication with everyone but their birth team so as to give her body and mind the best opportunity to achieve her dream of a natural birth. I was sad for this mother for feeling rejected. She hadn't felt encouraged in her choices in the time she needed it most. She was well educated and had a wonderful birth team. She and her husband were confident in their plans and the direction their birth was headed. Yet, because their friends didn't understand their choices, they made judgements and had advice that was discouraging to this couple.
Pregnancy and birth, for me, is a very intimate and personal experience. I tend to be very conservative with who I share my plans and thoughts with. Everyone has an opinion. They may share it with you or wait till your out of ear shot to judge, criticize or say things about your plans. Either way, these opinions can effect your pregnancy and birth. One thing I have learned to consider before jumping to a judgment about others is...you just never know what counsel, prayer, time, and careful consideration has gone into the decisions that people are making. People are forming opinions with little bits of information and not the whole and certainly not on all the information you yourself have.
My advice tends to be to know who your advocates are and will be during your pregnancy and birth, no matter what type of birth you are planning. When it comes to natural birth and plans to birth outside the hospital, many friends and family members tend not to understand, which in turn leads to advice and opinions formed out of fear for you and the safety of your baby. Some of my students have chosen not to share their plans for an out of hospital or homebirth until after the fact. But, no matter your birth place, I always strongly suggest you keep labor and birth off facebook and social media and limit your communication to your closest, most supportive circle. Many parents can get very eager to share the news with the world of baby coming at the jolt of the first strong contraction. This is an excellent way to start feeling like a watched pot. Your possy will become anxious and eager to hear and you may become inundated with calls, texts and messages from the hungry crowd. I've always thought it best (and even more exciting) to send the announcement out of your baby's arrival rather than a play by play of the labor and iminant birth.
Sometimes trends and opinions of others can have such a huge impact on your pregnancy and birth that you end up doing things that you may not otherwise have done. Things like hiring or not hiring a doula and birth photographer, what kind of childbirth class you will attend, whether to breastfeed or formula feed, where to birth your baby, who will be at your birth...etc... However, the influence of others can sometimes be good. I have heard many stories from moms who were thrilled that their friend influenced them in a certain direction or steered them away from another. But, I think it is important to ultimately feel that your are making these choices for yourself and not to please your family, friends, or even your care provider.
In planning for the homebirth of my second child, I have chosen to prepare a bit differently than the first time around. This is mainly due to some things that I didn't feel I did "right" the first time that lead to a long labor and somewhat difficult recovery after a 3rd degree tear. And, I really think I trust and treasure this sacred process differently this time around. It's all so new the first time. Now, I take more physical time for myself - walking 4-6 miles a week and taking weekly yoga classes. I feel more open with my midwife this time around and also keep a journal of my most intimate thoughts about this pregnancy and my hopes for birth. Writing and journaling has been an awesome stress relief for me. It is also a good way to get your thoughts out there without sharing with the whole world. And, journaling is a good way to gain clarity if your and your parnter have differing opinions, large or small. I also like to make time to sit in silence, pray, or meditate, alone with no outside distractions for a few minutes each day. I get clarity from that time as well.
What I think it comes down to is feeling confident and trusting of your choices. Have an understanding that the mind and body connection during pregnancy is huge. Trust yourself more than the opinions of others. Have a tight circle you feel safe with and a care provider and birth team that you trust and can share your intimate feelings and emotions.
Pregnancy and birth are sacred. Love and protect them both!
If you are anything like me, you are having an overwhelming feeling to get your house in order before your baby arrives. My nesting instincts kicked in hard just as I approached 18 weeks pregnant. I woke up one Saturday morning with the urge to organize the pantry....so I did. As I kept opening closets and drawers throughout my house, my initial thought is "where did all this stuff come from?!" I need things to be clean and clutter free.
But, I tend to get a little scatterbrained without a plan. Telling myself I have plenty of time is key. No need to try and organize the entire house in one day.
So, here are some nesting tips to help you as you organize, declutter, clean, and prepare for baby.
1. Make a plan - You may have a few months or only a few days. Either way, don't get overwhelmed. Sit down and make a list of your priorities. List your top three "must get dones" for each day and focus on those (i.e. - organize the junk drawer, scrub the shower, and wipe down kitchen sink). It's always nice to put something on your list each day that is already done so you feel like you are already ahead of the game.
2. Stay on track - Don't put too many things on your to-do list for each day. And, don't devote a whole day of your list to things your aren't looking forward to because you'll get bored and move on without finishing. Finish one thing before moving to the next.
3. Make piles - Have a box (or bag) for recycle, trash, give away, and donate. As you work, figure out a plan for the give away and donate items. The faster you can get rid of those boxes and bags, the better you will feel.
4. Recruit help - My 2.5 year old is "helping" me. Well, he's keeping me good company anyway. But, perhaps you could ask a friend or relative to help out on the big jobs if you are pressed for time in exchange for dinner.
5. Separate emotions from reality - Ha! your are thinking "Ya, right, I am pregnant, remember?" It can be hard to part with some things. I tend to think "But surely I'll use it someday." My general rule of thumb has become - if I haven't used it in a year or didn't even remember I had it in the first place, it might be worth passing along.
6. Be safe - Don't forget you are pregnant. Most household cleaners contain a lot of harmful chemicals. I suggest making a few cleaners and scrubs of your own using essenital oils and gentle soaps. There are many recipes out there for making these safe products and they are fairly inexpesive. It's worth it for your baby!
(Not necessarilty 30 days in a row!)
Day 1 - Pantry
Day 2 - Windows and Sills
Day 3 - Bedroom Dressers
Day 4 - Linen Closet
Day 5 - Jewelry and Make-up
Day 6 - Bathroom Floors
Day 7 - Bookshelves
Day 8 - Kid's Closets
Day 9 - Under Kitchen and Bathroom Sinks
Day 10 - Garage
Day 11 - Kitchen Cabinets
Day 12 - Fridge and Freezer
Day 13 - Blinds and Curtains
Day 14 - Your Purse
Day 15 - Medicine/Vitamin Cabinet
Day 16 - Living Room Cabinets
Day 17 - Car
Day 18 - Showers/Tubs
Day 19 - Baseboards
Day 20 - Kitchend Drawers
Day 21 - The Baby's Room
Day 22 - Computer Desk
Day 23 - Your Closet
Day 24 - The Yard
Day 25 - Kid's Toys/Playroom
Day 26 - Attic/Storage Room
Day 27 - Under Beds
Day 28 - Mirrors
Day 29 - Vents
Day 30 - Random Cluttered Spaces/Baskets/Boxes/Nooks/Crannies
Everyone always told me that boys do the whole potty training thing later than girls. Having just turned two in June, I didn't push the issue. Although, he did get a cool, singing potty chair from Grandma and PaPaw for his birthday, but it remained in the corner of the bathroom untouched. He did, however, like to pour water in it just to hear it sing! He still has never peed in it. I fully expected we'd be talking "big potty" in about a year.
He wasn't really showing many signs that he was interested in the big potty, although, he was going longer and longer without being wet and often waking up dry.
I've never been huge on reading any particular parenting or "how to" books. Sometimes I think that when you read too much and/or take other people's advice, it just leads to overlooking your child's own cues or following your own instincts as a mother. So, I hadn't been reading up on potty training.
One day this summer, Grandpa showed up with "Elmo's Potty Time." Elmo is a personal favorite around here. He watched it over and over. They talk about pee pee and poo poo and about putting it in the potty. Grover and Elmo sing a fun song about how "accidents happen." I think things were starting to click. But, I still didn't press the issue.
One Friday morning he woke up dry and told me he wanted to go pee pee on the big potty. Then he wanted to put undies on. So, I was interested to see where this was going. That morning, as we headed out for errands, I wondered...undies or a diaper. I took a chance and we left the house with undies on. At Old Navy we bought an Elmo potty sticker chart. When we got home, I put in on the refridgerator and made a big deal about getting stickers if he kept on going. That day he went in the big potty five times and had no accidents. Hmmm....ok, cool!
Two days later we left on a seven hour car ride to visit family. Undies or diapers? Undies it was. I had kind of decided not to revert back since he was doing so great and I didn't want him to be confused. Looking back, I am so glad we never looked back to diapers. On the trip, it was an interesting introduction to public restrooms and one stop on the side of the toll road for an emergency poop! At gas stations, I wrapped the toilet seats in toilet paper, I just tried not to think about the germs. I wasn't really mentally or physically prepared for what a trip to a public potty was going to be like. But, I really hadn't prepared at all for this whole potty thing to begin with. Although, since then, my friends tell me that they make portable potty seat covers and little potty chairs are great to take in the car for just such occasions! Whew! We made it to our destination with no accidents. He continued to go potty and poop in the big toilet. He told me every single time he had to go! However, just a heads up moms, if you are playing hide and seek with your potty training child, don't hide too hard. That was his first accident about five days into it!
I continued with diapers at night for about a week before I realized he was always waking up dry. So, undies at night it was! I can happily report no accidents at night with undies after six whole weeks. He's had a couple of daytime accidents here and there - usually when he's been with someone else. What kid doesn't though, right? So, I've learned to always leave the house with a change of clothes and washcloths to clean up messes. And, definitely make sure you take them potty often because when it hits, it hits!
His latest thing is to "do it like Daddy." Kids, they just want to be so big sometimes. So, he stands on his little step stool and goes. Thankfully he has pretty good aim! I've managed to keep the messes to a minimum.
To all the moms out there that are amongst the potty training years, I have no magic advice really. I think I caught a huge break. I can honestly say that was easy! But, the Elmo movie was a great introduction. The potty chart was fun too! He has always liked to feel proud of doing something right and loved the stickers.
Take one day at a time. It's easy to get frustrated when accidents happen, but they get the hang of it quickly! Kids like to feel encouraged and know they are doing it right. Just keep on high fiving and giving them big hugs for it.
I just finished my first 10-week series of Birth Boot Camp. As I patiently wait for all the mommies to have their precious babes, I am reminded of these six simple words.
Please, Do Not Disturb the Mother
And, here is my story.
My sister had her kids several years before me. I am going to use that as an excuse that I didn't have much to do with birth 7 years ago, so I really didn't know any better. I was ignorant of what a pregnant and birthing mother REALLY needs. I am embarrassed to tell you this, but I have to.
Nearly seven years ago she was about to have her first child. I was living six hours away, but I loved hearing her tell stories about her midwives visiting the house for prenatal appointments and how she was preparing for her homebirth. It was so exciting! One Saturday afternoon in the middle of December she called to tell me that she thought things might be starting. We finished our conversation as she said she was about to mop the floor and clean the kitchen. I next spoke with my mother (who has five children herself), who knew what that meant. Labor was near. My mother packed up her car and started the five and a half hour drive to my sister's house. I didn't hear anything Sunday. By Monday I was feeling anxiously out of the loop. I began calling my sister and my mother nearly every hour, to no avail. Nobody would answer. Surely the baby had been born already! After all, it had been a whole day! (My obvious ignorance - got me back with a 25 hour labor myself five years later!) So, I kept calling for hours and still no answer. Did they not know that I needed to know every detail of every second of what was happening? Why were they not answering the phone? Why couldn't I be the first to know everything?!?
I now understand, from my more recent years as a doula and childbirth educator, that pregnant mothers and women in labor are not thinking about everyone who wants to know what is happening with her. She is just trying (or should be trying) to have her baby peacefully and undisturbed.
I have found that what you know about the pregnant or laboring mother is just exactly what she wants you to know. Family members and friends, if you know nothing, do not be offended, she may just not feel like sharing every detail with you. If you know a lot, it probably means she has trusted you with the deepest thoughts and feelings about her pregnancy and birth. The emotional aspect of birth is huge in preparing for the arrival of a baby. The impending birth may be a sacred time for the mother. The days leading up to labor may be heavily guarded, as she prepares the way for her baby to come.
But, when a mother nears or passes that 40 week mark, she often becomes a walking time bomb to those around her. Family, friends, and perfect strangers become concerned for the well-being of the mother and baby. And sometimes they don't recognize the error of their ways.
She'll get calls and comments asking…
"How dilated are you?" (which, by the way, is no indication of when labor will start.)
"When are they scheduling the induction?" (perhaps she has no intention of this.)
"I can't believe you haven't had that baby already!" (don't you think she is thinking that very same thing?)
Why is it that people feel the need to be the first to know what is happening with the expectant mother? One way or another, you will find out that the baby has arrived. You may not be the very first, but it's the same news to ALL, right?
Pregnancy, birth, and the initial postpartum phase are precious to a mother. She may have so many mixed emotions as she nears the end of her pregnancy. Perhaps she has unspoken fears, anxiety or sadness. But, because we cannot know what she is thinking or feeling, just encourage her and lift her up during this time as she prepares for birth. As helpful as you might think, your unsolicited opinions of birth may not be in line with those that she has. After all, she has (hopefully) been preparing emotionally, physically, and mentally for nine months to meet this child.
The baby will come when ready.
Allow me just encourage you to leave the mother BE at the end of her pregnancy. And if she passes that due date, love her, support her, and be there when she needs you.
Just please, do not disturb the mother!
I must say, I just recently just discovered what in the world Ina May Gaskin's famous saying, "Your body is not a lemon", really means. Sitting around talking with all my birthy friends at a dinner table right next to Ina May herself, no doubt, I got the answer.
Turns out I was WAY OFF!
A lemon is a car, often new, that is found to be defective only after it has been bought. Any vehicle with numerous, severe issues can be termed a "lemon", and, by extension, any product with flaws too great or severe to serve its purpose can be described as a "lemon".
Now I get it! This analogy makes perfect sense to me!
I know many women refer to this saying for birth. But, it also makes me think of the rest of what she says. "The Creator is not a careless mechanic." I totally agree! Just think of how intricately we are designed.
I believe we were created by God. And, the woman was created from man and given a womb...thus being called womb-man...woman. He gave us all the tools we would need to bare, carry, feed and nurture our children. It was a very well thought out creation.
First off, we women have a cycle. Typically it is 28 days or so. And, during the middle of that cycle we have been given ways to detect our fertility by observing our cervical fluids and noting the changes to our body. It has the very signs to tell us when we can get pregnant...or not...depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
He gave us the organs to grow a baby. We were born with all the eggs we will ever have. Each month during our cycle one (or more) is released and travels down the fallopian tube to become pregnant or not. If not, our uterus sheds the lining it has prepared for a pregnancy. If the egg gets fertilized, it plants itself into the uterus and grows for 9 months.. Our body is amazing. It grows this baby! This video is a wonderful representation how a baby grows during it time inside its mother.
And, believe it or not, our body has the remarkable capability of completing the pregnancy (on its own) and telling you to go into labor. Your body was designed to trigger labor on its own when the baby is fully ready. Our bodies were created with amazing pain receptors that give us the ability to help our bodies birth a baby. When unaltered by drugs, the brain and uterus work in perfect unison to complete the amazing task of sending messages to your body on how to give birth.
If unmedicated, a mother will feel the most amazing cocktail of love hormones created by her own body that she has ever felt in her entire life. These hormones help create the initial bond and love between a mother and her child. This is not to say that a mother who was medicated during birth does not immediately love her child, please don't get me wrong. But, she is missing out of the most amazing drug-free high she could ever experience in her life after a birth with no drugs.
He gave us breasts to feed our babies and sustain their lives. Need I say more?
We truly are an amazing design! So, your body is not a lemon. Yes, I understand that some of us have trouble conceiving, carrying a child, or breastfeeding and I am truly saddened by this struggle. But, it wasn't first created as a faulty design and in today's world, I believe we should still be seen as beautiful creations!