A Little Parenting... Childbirth Education

I am currently great with child.  Baby #3!  I am mere weeks away from yet another delivery.  I was telling my husband the other day... now I remember, it gets to the point where you are willing to do anything to get that child out!  Well, I think it's safe to say that I am so there.  But childbirth isn't just about getting that child out, at least not for me.  It's about welcoming a new life.  Plus, I prefer to go sans pain meds (think I'm crazy?)  Maybe a little.  I'm not gunna lie, it hurts.  But it's important to me that the births of my children go the way I choose.  This is why I took childbirth education classes.  I learned everything from reproductive anatomy, to the stages of labor and what to expect.  So when I was yelling for an epidural in the midst of "transition" with my first baby, my husband (aka my birthing coach) reminded me that I was experiencing the last (and most painful) stage of labor and that it would only last a matter of minutes.  Knowing what was happening in a possibly stressful situation was invaluable and I honestly couldn't have done it without it.

I had to physically go to my classes.  But now, thanks to technology, they are available online.  Maybe I'll take the classes on my iPad :).  The classes are available starting tomorrow, April 20th, right here.  The price is pretty great too.

That's my two cents.  What's right for you?
Best, Aly

by Guest Contributor Amy Jones, CBE

In the midst of ever-changing maternity care, it is vital, now more than ever, to know how to increase your odds of a safe delivery. How can you do this?  One word... EDUCATION!  "Knowing is half the battle," right?

So, what makes for a positive, healthy birth experience? Is it minimal pain, the latest in technology?
Most parents have had both minimal pain and the latest technology and yet the majority still tell their "horror birth story" and come away with negative side effects from interventions that can impact them, socially and physically, for weeks or even years.

Obviously that's not where the answer lies. The birth of a baby represents the birth of a family!  It only makes sense that there's more to having a satisfying birth than the physical experience.

The #1 Factor In A Healthy Birth

Studies show that a positive, healthy birth is not measured by how much pain a woman experiences, but by:
  • how well informed she felt, 
  • how in control of the decision making she was, 
  • and the quality of her labor support. 
In order to achieve a high level knowledge, informed decision making, and skilled labor support, education is essential.

The way to attain the most amount of quality childbirth education in the limited time that pregnancy offers is to seek out experienced, well-informed childbirth education classes.

How do you know if the classes you've chosen are the best offered? Here are three questions to ask the your potential childbirth educator...
1) Are you Independent or contracted?

Independent means that no hospital or care provider is paying them. They are not censored in teaching or have vested interest in "selling" you any procedure because of someone else's policies. Contracted classes vary in information and philosophy, but typically are just the opposite of independent courses with regards to the factors above.

2) What is the class size and length?

A small class size (8-10 couples or less) means that you more of your individual needs will be met and questions answered, which results in greater knowledge and security. Length is also a consideration because you can obviously receive and retain more information and skills in an 8 week or more class series than a weekend or 2 week "crash course."

3) What is your training, experience, and philosophy?

Look for an educator that stays well informed of current findings, is well read, attends conferences, and teaches from a viewpoint that supports your goals; i.e. if your goal is a natural, unmedicated birth, it makes sense to seek classes that emphasize normal, healthy birth and provides in-depth comfort techniques and coping measures.

Making the effort to become well-informed about childbirth itself, and the typical birth practices and options in your local area, is truly an investment with lifelong rewards of better health and memories that will stay with you forever.

Don't be left with the feeling, "If only I had known more or made different choices, would my birth have been more satisfying or healthy?" Take responsibility and provide yourself and baby with the best possible experience by seeking out quality childbirth education classes.

Amy Jones is a Certified Childbirth Educator, doula, member of CAPPA, DONA and past president of CELA of Southern Nevada.

Most recently, Amy has created, an online resource dedicated to empowering expecting mothers with all the tools and resources necessary to experience the birth of their dreams.

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