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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
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!
Homebirth and cancer. Kind of an odd combo, huh?
I know what you are thinking. What do those two even have in common? Well, I'll tell ya.
On November 10, 2011 my mom - my dear friend and confidant - told me she had breast cancer. My mother, who had breastfed five babies for a total of nearly seven years, had cancer. Wow. She had found a rather large lump in her breast and finally had it diagnosed. Breast cancer they said, and surgery was needed immediately, followed by chemotherapy and radiation. The fear of that alone is enough to stop you in your tracks.
Now, we have never really been a family that makes decisions based on fear. When my sister was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in 1996, they ("they" meaning the doctors) told her that she would have her colon removed by age 26, she'd be on medication indefinitely, and her life would always be plagued with the horrible disease. But, wouldn't you know it, she wasn't going to take that diagnosis. My mother worked diligently with my sister (who became extremely sick at times) for a couple of years with all sorts of alternative therapies, acupuncture, prayer, and diet changes. And, at almost 30 years old, my sister is alive and well (with her colon) and completely healed with no medical intervention!
I tell you that story because I know my mother is a fighter! She is a true believer in healing and the body's ability to heal itself when properly nourished. She has always been really great at taking care of everyone else, but when faced with her own cancer I know she was beginning to have some fears.
On December 1st, she had a lumpectomy to remove her tumor and 26 lymph nodes (13 of which had cancer). While in surgery, they put a port in her chest for potential chemotherapy. She had arranged with the surgeon beforehand that if a certain number of lymph nodes were infected that they would place in the port. But, supposedly they got the cancer during surgery. What was happening? Had my mother been thinking drugs as a form of a "cure" or as a precautionary measure? This wasn't something that I expected my mother would ever consider. I suppose that you never really know what you might do until you are faced with it yourself though.
At that moment, I began to realize that cancer and homebirthing had a lot on common. As a society, drugs are widely accepted as the go-to form of cancer treatment (and for birth too). What happens if you don't have chemotherapy? You will die, right? Kind of like if you have an out of hospital birth, you will die. It's just all way too risky for sure! Or, is it? I began having many visits with my mother about her plans for care. We watched videos on The Gerson Therapy and started reading and looking into all the options.
But, there is a lot of peer pressure involved when making such decisions. Everyone knows someone who has or has had cancer. So, everyone has a story too - and sometimes a horror story to boot! And, because only a teeny tiny percentage of people birth outside of the hospital, I could somewhat relate my own homebirth experience to what my mother was going through with breast cancer and her decision to ditch the drugs.
My sister went to stay with my mother and our family right after the surgery. She juiced fresh, organic fruits and vegetables many times a day and prepared the coffee enemas that my mother took several times a day as well. As my mother began to feel stronger, she continued to read more and more about how to heal her body without drugs. I know that it took a while for her heart and her head to meet the same conclusion.
Many people will not understand her decision to forgo chemotherapy and radiation to instead heal and maintain her health with food and a variety of well thought out and thoroughly researched alternative therapies. In the same respect, research shows that homebirth is very safe and often times safer than a hospital birth.
And, it wasn't easy for her to tell her physicians of her alternative choices. I can't blame them though. Medical school doesn't really prepare doctors to provide holistic care. Just like many obstetricians these days leave medical school having never witnessed a natural birth. God bless the doctors in true emergencies though - we've had a few!
I am glad she finally got to a happy place and feels comfortable with her plans now. I can tell she is feeling wonderful and confident with herself. Since the beginning of 2012, my mother has done a radical change. In her reading and through her holistic care providers, she has formulated a plan. Her diet is now strictly vegan. It consists of no animal products, no dairy, no sugar and no grains, as those are all high in acidity and cancer causing. She continues her daily enemas and juicing. Exercise is also part of her regimen, as she desires to get healthy oxygen to her cells. She has lost nearly 30 pounds, which is fabulous considering cancer cells like to live in fat tissues!
I am so inspired by my mother. She is a true testimony of fighting back when fear attacks!
So, put those naysayers far away from you. Surround yourself with people who are encouraging you in your beliefs and desires - people who understand and who are also well researched. Fear tends to creep up around every corner from those who don't know enough about what you are doing to talk respectfully and intelligently on the subjects of cancer and homebirth.
Go with your heart and do your research. Your heart and your mind with eventually meet up!
I've been MIA for a few months, sorry. Perhaps you will understand once you read this post. I am so excited to share some great news! My mother had five natural births. I was her firstborn. I think the minute I found out that I was born frank breech with the use of forceps and no pain medication, I knew she had done something very special for me and for herself. From that moment on, I knew if she could have natural births, then by golly, so could I! As I grew older, I also realized that not only was my body made to birth babies, but that drugs in America are grossly overused, especially in the matter of childbirth.read more →
If I were any "braver" I would morph into a superhuman, well that is what some people think anyway. "Brave" to birth naturally at home. "Brave" to breastfeed and co-sleep with my baby. "Brave" to do baby led weaning. I don't consider myself...read more →