When I became pregnant with my first baby it never occurred to me to take a childbirth class. I had never known anyone who’d taken a class, and no one had ever suggested we take a one (except the nurse who was attending me while I was in labor). It wasn’t until after our first child was born that I realized how unprepared we were and how much we still didn’t know. To this day I still wish we had known to take a class because I know how different my first birth could have been.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about childbirth classes that I hear as a birth worker:
Do I need to Take a Class If I’m Not Having a Natural Birth?
Yes! Regardless of what options you choose for your birth, you need to know what those options are in the first place. Whether to have an epidural or not isn’t the only choice you’ll have to make, and taking a good, comprehensive childbirth class is a great way to learn what those options are. What happens when you arrive at the hospital ready for your epidural, and the anesthesiologist was pulled into an emergency surgery? What techniques will you use to manage your labor until he’s available? Does your partner know what role he will play in the birth? Under what circumstances is a cesarean medically necessary? How many grams of protein should you be eating every day? We cover it ALL so that you can feel confident about your birth.
Does Everyone Need to Take a Class?
Yes! And no. But mostly yes. We see couples come through our classes from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances. First time parents with no experience, second time parents who had a disastrous first birth and want to know how to make the next one better, a wife who’s had children previously but her husband hasn’t, couples who’ve had a cesarean and want a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), couples who had an epidural but want a natural birth, and everything in between. If you’ve never taken a class, even if you’ve given birth before, there are a lot of valuable things to be learned from coming to class taught by a certified instructor.
When is the Best Time to Take a Childbirth Class?
There really is no best time. Want to get a jumpstart on preparation and have lots of time to practice before birth? Start a class at the end of your first trimester or beginning of your second trimester. Want to have the class end right before you give birth so everything is fresh in your mind? Start a class at 29-33 weeks. There’s nothing that says you have to look pregnant in order to take a childbirth class! It’s really just a matter of personal preference.
Does my partner Come to Class With Me?
Yes! Partners are an integral part of our classes! We’re not only talking about what’s happening to your body and how to cope, but we’re teaching partners all the ways they can support you during the process. We teach your partner how to recognize the different stages of labor and what things he can be doing during each one. We have a “Top 10 Tools for Partners” section with helpful suggestions of things to try when you need to mix things up in labor. We teach them what positions they can support you in, how to help you relax, ways to verbally praise and support you, and what questions to ask when you feel like you can’t anymore.
What is the Birth Boot Camp Method or Philosophy?
Simply put, Birth Boot Camp isn’t a method. It’s a toolbox. We don’t focus on one singular technique, but instead fill your toolbox with a wide variety of tools to utilize in any given scenario. Every birth is so unique, and it’s almost impossible to tell which labor management techniques will work for you. If you have a long, drawn out labor that spans multiple days, you’ll use different techniques than if you have a short, fast labor. Or you may find that some relaxation techniques you connect with better than others. Our goal as childbirth educators is to give you a comprehensive study of the physiology of pregnancy and birth, the management of labor and the postpartum period, breastfeeding, and of newborn care, so that you leave feeling prepared and confident for any scenario.