Free time during your third trimester of pregnancy is very valuable real estate. There are showers to attend, thank-you notes to write, car seats to install, maternity leave replacements to train, pints of Haagen Dazs to consume. Why take a childbirth class when you can kill two birds with one stone, putting your feet up with a pint of vanilla bean while watching Special Delivery on Discovery Health? Why? Because in most cases, there are far better options.
You’re not alone if your idea of childbirth classes is a bunch of people lying on the floor learning how to breathe — something we already know how to do, as evidenced by, well, life. But taking a class can be extremely valuable and beneficial, no matter what you hope your delivery experience to be. A childbirth class can help you make informed decisions, learn pain relief options, and dispel fears or anxieties. And learning about the process of labor and birth, you will almost certainly come to appreciate this miracle even more.
Labor and Birth Process
When you take a class, you begin to really envision what labor and birth are all about, and what your experience will be like. Because the objective of a class is to prepare parents for that experience in all kinds of ways, you get facts, tips and suggestions, options, and hands-on tools and techniques for support and partnership. And yes, you get movies, and handouts too!
According to Chris Just, Isis Parenting’s Executive Director of Prenatal Education, there is an absolute physiologic connection between fear/tension and pain/discomfort. And knowledge helps to reduce fear. Whether you have fear surrounding pain, birth, or outcomes, information about what to expect can help to reduce that fear. Meanwhile, detailed information about pain intervention options, medical and alternative, are explored.
Isis childbirth classes strive to treat each couple as a team, and recognize that both mother and partner need support in gaining knowledge and techniques. Partners of pregnant mothers need preparation, too; after all, people probably haven’t been coming up to them for months volunteering free and often unsolicited advice about how they should handle the labor and birth.
In the last session of an Isis childbirth class, partners are separated from pregnant mothers as both groups discuss how they envision their lives changing with the arrival of their baby. And this can be the most moving part of the whole childbirth class. Certainly, they imagine, there will be less Haagen Dazs, less feet up, less of that valuable weekend real estate. But with excitement, trepidation, and gratitude, parents anticipate the wonders that lie ahead!
Explore Isis Parenting’s full range of childbirth education options.
Use Your Words
What was the most valuable part of your childbirth education?