Many first-time labors can last as long as 48 hours! And some are short and very intense. Both will require work. Choosing a class that can help prepare you and your partner for the many stages of labor ahead can have a positive impact on your birthing experience. Even if you plan on using pain medication, you will have to work through many contractions before that will be administered.
Childbirth education was a kind of rite of passage for many families, for a time. The Childbirth Education movement in the US grew out of the desire to change the birthing experience in the US. Birth had evolved into a medicalized event throughout the 1900’s and women were routinely put in a state of semi-consciousness to give birth. They were usually alone and had very little memory of the experience.
As the movement grew, childbirth helped the birthing person retake control over their body and their experience. However, what peaked in at nearly 70% of parents attending a class in 2000, fell to 56% just five years later (ncbirthcenter.org). Now only 10% of new mothers report a childbirth education class being their best source of information. Yet, as participation declines, the benefits still exist. Taking a class or classes from a trained instructor has been shown to lower cesarean birth rates up to 25 percent, (Journal of Perinatal Education, 2006).
Why does CBE lower cesarean rates and increase reported birth satisfaction? Because you are part of the process; It is your birth; It is your body! Your body knows how to do birth this baby and you have everything you need inside of you do to so. However, knowing what will happen to your body during this process allows you to be able to better make decisions along the way.
- There are coping skills and techniques that you and your partner can learn together.
- You will have the opportunity to see the anatomy of your changing body.
- You will learn about how your body and baby work together through contractions.
As labor and pushing progress, you have options. Knowing what these options are and the benefits, risks, and alternatives to them, can empower you in the moment. There are also terms and procedures that are routinely performed during birth and postpartum. Being aware of these procedures can help things feel less confusing and make you an active participant.
How I can bring CBE to you.
Determining whether a class is right for you and your partner can feel like an overwhelming task. It may also feel unnecessary to you. If you are expecting your first child and are receiving routine care from a midwife or OB, they will most likely suggest some form of childbirth education to help prepare you. If you are birthing at a hospital or birth center, they may offer classes taught by their care providers. There are also community-based classes or private classes taught by trained Childbirth Educators, like me.
Not everyone is comfortable in a classroom setting. Additionally, being 8 months pregnant and having to sit in a chair for hours on end is not an ideal way to learn. However, attending a shorter class week over week has become increasingly difficult. The ability to take a class in the privacy of your own home, free to move about and learn at your pace, and not compromise quality could be the right option for you.
As a trained ICEA childbirth educator I can create custom childbirth education classes for you and your partner. Using my knowledge, training, and research of child development, content can also include newborn behavior and caregiving basics upon request. I believe strongly in providing evidenced based information and exploring the benefits, risks, and alternatives. My role as an educator, as well as a Doula, is to inform and empower you and your partner during this process.
If you are interested in learning more about how we can working together to prepare for your birth please feel free to look at the services offered and use the contact form for any questions are to schedule a free consultation.
-Stephanie Drake, Ph.D