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Do I Need to Take Childbirth Preparation Classes?

Birth: a journey in life   

On this, one of the most important journeys of your life, don’t you want to be sure you’ve made careful preparations? Just imagine yourself going into any journey, not knowing what to expect, having no education on what to anticipate, and relying only on the information you learn along the way which may be accurate or inaccurate.  

This is what happens to so many women giving birth today who have not taken a childbirth preparation class or take a hospital or consumer-oriented one. They have little or no idea what to expect – except perhaps what they have seen in the movies, on TV, or heard from their friends. This may or may not be accurate information, but for sure is misleading since every birth is unique unto itself so is not to be compared with any other birth. Since birth is such an important event in the journey of life, the transition from pregnancy to birth to parenting can be much easier when birthing parents have an idea of what to anticipate and plan accordingly.

Birth is an emotional experience,
Therefore, an emotional preparation is needed for birth. 

Physical vs Emotional Preparation for Birth

Physical:  Most childbirth preparation classes today are academic overload, addressing mostly the physical aspects of birth. This in itself can add to the stress and anxiety a pregnant woman may already be experiencing in her body. For example, imagine a pregnant woman hearing in class, “This is how many centimeters you need to dilate before your cervix opens; you can time your contractions to see how long they last and how far apart they are; you might have false labor with contractions that can leave you exhausted by the time real labor begins; your labor may be longer if the baby is not positioned correctly, when the contractions become too strong, you can request an epidural; with an epidural you can’t walk anymore; there are stages of labor, the first being your cervical dilation, the second is the birth of the baby, and the third is the delivery of your placenta;  the stations of the pelvis go from -4 to +4 when the baby is on your perineum;  when you get to 10cm remember to breathe more slowly.”  Do you feel exhausted just reading this? 

As you can see, most of these concern numbers/time and thus stimulate a woman’s neocortex or thinking brain which in labor can actually interfere with the progress of labor. This information overload undermines a woman’s confidence in her ability to give birth and does not even address the emotional and sacred side of birth.

Teaching about the facts of birth is straightforward;
the challenge lies in helping pregnant women
to have more trust and faith in their ability to give birth. 

Emotional: Contrast this with an emotional preparation for birth. For example, imagine a pregnant woman in class hearing, “All women are born with the knowledge about how to give birth.” Otherwise, how could women have given birth over thousands of years, before there were hospitals, doctors, and childbirth classes?  

Birth is instinctive and what is instinctive doesn’t need to be taught.  In BirthWorks classes, we are going to help you have more trust and faith in your body’s knowledge that already knows how to give birth.  (Pregnant women with us hear a voice inside them saying, “My body is so wise!”)  All you have to remember to do is keep your hands relaxed, find optimal positions, then breathe slowly into each contraction. The more relaxed you are the more effective your contractions will be in dilating your cervix. The stronger the contraction, the more relaxed you keep your hands, opening them and welcoming the strong contraction.  When your hands are relaxed, your whole body including the pelvis is more relaxed.   

Movement Into Optimal Pelvic Positions:  As you move, your baby turns to navigate his way through your pelvis in optimal pelvic positions. Your baby knows how to grow inside of you and how to be born. You can let it your baby be your guide. A BirthWorks birth doula is knowledgeable about optimal pelvic positioning and can assist you by giving words of encouragement. In this most important journey, it is important to feel love and compassion from those around you because then you can relax more when you feel safe and supported. 

Human Values:  In BirthWorks classes, the basis of the emotional preparation for birth is learning about and practicing human values that can be put into practice at any birth, regardless if it is in a hospital, birthing center, or at home. Though both a physical and emotional preparation is important, there needs to be a balance. It is the emotional preparation that women find the most helpful in birth. Without it, women are not adequately prepared for the emotions that will surface in birth.  

Truth:  Birthing parents learn that all women are born with the knowledge about how to give birth. Because birth is instinctive, it doesn’t have to be learned.  When women know and believe the TRUTH that they are born with the knowledge about how to give birth, they are more likely to have trust and faith in their ability to give birth. The outcome of this is confidence.

With a balance of the physical and emotional preparation, the journey of birth can be much more empowering. In fact, it can be so powerful that it will be a foundation for the rest of life.  Remember that it is only through experience that we learn.  Numbing the body with narcotics and drugs affects hormone behaviors and takes away the full experience of birth that is so meaningful and transforming. (Drugs also impact the baby’s health and ability to breastfeed early on, which many women don’t know.)

Birth is Instinctive! All women are born with the knowledge about how to give birth. We help women to have more trust and faith in their innate wisdom.

Confidence:  In this most important journey, confidence is needed – confidence to overcome obstacles, confidence to have courage to experience new situations, and confidence to have patience and believe the value of the journey.  It is the practice of human values that increases confidence and decreases fear in birth. It integrates the mind, body, and spirit in birth and is transforming in nature. Birthing confidently creates women who parent confidently… the long-term implications of choosing a positive birth preparation carry into a more positive life.

The practice of human values increases confidence
and decreases fear in birth.

So if you are pregnant, do you believe you need to take childbirth preparation classes? It is your journey and your choice, but preparing carefully with classes that provide both a physical and emotional preparation, knowing each birth is unique, will help you find the experience of birth an experience beyond your wildest dreams.   

Women going through BirthWorks childbirth preparation classes feel fantastic and happy to give birth.

BirthWorks… because it’s ancient.