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Childbirth Classes really help you prepare for Labor

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Over the last fifty years several childbirth styles and childbirth classes have gone in and out of vogue. Most hospitals today, including Bonner General, offer classes to expectant couples to familiarize them with the hospital, the ins and outs of birth, and their staff.

In my 32 years of being a midwife, having watched hundreds of couples seek out education and information about childbirth, I have found that childbirth classes really do help parents learn what to expect and can take a lot of the fear out of the birthing process. Here are some things to look for and consider when choosing a birthing class:

  1. Does the class match your goals?  Certain methods such as Lamaze or Bradley® are specifically designed to help couples achieve a natural, vaginal, drug-free birth. If you would like to consider using pain-management drugs or are planning a C-section, find a class that will educate you about your options.
  2. Does the class cover contingencies you might face? If you are having a hospital birth, for example, you might want the class you are choosing to educate you about what interventions might be offered, such as induction, episiotomy, and epidurals.
  3. If you plan to have a birthing partner, does the class include him/her? Many classes are focused on husband-coached childbirth, championed by Dr. Robert Bradley, MD, in his 1965 book Husband-Coached Childbirth. If your husband/partner is part of your birth plan, make sure he or she is part of your birth class. One father-of-two told me: “Going through the classes helped me learn how to be a part of the process so I could help my wife  instead of just being a bystander  not knowing what to do.”
  4. Does the class give a realistic idea of what to expect during labor? As one mom recently told me regarding her birth class experience: “I found that understanding physiologically what was going on inside my body made the whole labor process not only tolerable, but even enjoyable!”
  5. Consider the instructor’s training and experience. Most childbirth education classes are taught by women. It might be important to you that the instructor has actually gone through birth and used the method that she is teaching. It also may be important to you that the instructor is fully certified to teach that particular method. It depends on your comfort level.

More education means less fear! When moms can relax (as much as she can relax while giving birth!), the whole process goes much smoother.

For more information about childbirth education classes at Bonner General Hospital, call 263-1441. For more information about Bradley Method® childbirth education classes, call Lisa Christman at 290-5334.

Denise Midstokke, Licensed and Certified Professional Midwife, has been a midwife for 32 years, and has been practicing in North Idaho for 25 years. Pend Oreille Midwifery Services is located at 723 Pine Street, Sandpoint. (208) 263-0776

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