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  • Pauline Nardella

5 Reasons to Take an Out-of-Hospital Childbirth Class

childbirth class with Pauline
A Birthing Wisdom class taught by Pauline back in September, 2017

1. Childbirth education in a hospital prepares you for a medical birth.

Most hospital-based classes will present normal childbirth as a medically managed process. This will in some cases include; anesthesia, induction, cesarean section and instrumental birth as part of the normal process. You are taught how to be a “good and obedient” patient, learning about “hospital policies,” rather than options available to you and your right to choose them or question them. They often will omit certain details that go against their policies.

A one-day weekend class will never be enough to truly educate an expectant family about the intricacies of labor and birth. It is difficult to provide all the information that is covered in a typical (6) week 15hr course into a (1) day 7hr class.

2. Childbirth education should be nonbiased and well rounded.

Childbirth education classes should provide information/facts and options:

  • staying healthy and low risk

  • how your beautiful body works in labor

  • what labor is and isn’t

  • coping mechanisms including non-pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical options

  • medical interventions, what they are and the benefits & risks involved with each

  • how to support someone in labor

  • preparing your hospital bag

  • what to expect in postpartum

  • new parenting & breastfeeding

Independent childbirth classes offer a wider range of subjects. They empower expectant families to become educated consumers and know what all their options are, allowing them to make informed decisions.

3. Independent childbirth classes do not guarantee a natural, medication free birth

It’s a very common misconception that an independent childbirth class that focuses on preparing a mother for a natural birth will omit information or frown upon families that want medications/epidurals. The simple truth is it is about personal choice. Some women will choose to have an epidural before going into labor, others will decide if they need it once they are in labor and still others will choose not to have one. Knowledge is power! Even if you plan on having an epidural, the information taught in most independent childbirth classes is relevant to everyone. Classes will cover what an epidural is and how it is given, the pros and cons, information is also shared to reduce the common side effects of epidurals, lowering risks to mom and baby. Most importantly, by taking these classes, you will more likely address your labor with confidence and less fear.

Sometimes epidurals can be delayed in administration or they do not “take” fully, this is where non-pharmaceutical pain relief comes into play. Independent childbirth classes spend a lot of time covering the following techniques:

  • breath awareness

  • visualization

  • massage

  • aromatherapy

  • music

  • movement & posturing

  • hydrotherapy and so much more

The non-pharmaceutical pain relief discussions are life lessons…not only labor lessons. Many couples find that these techniques assists them in lowering stress and anxiety that come with life’s responsibilities. These techniques also work beautifully in labor, especially when women are not fearful about their labor and are well supported by the team that surrounds them.

4. Childbirth classes should Empower a father/coach

Truth be told, being a nurse, I didn’t think that I needed to take a class, but my midwife urged me to take one and to bring my husband with me, especially if he was going to be my support person.which he was! We took an independent class with 4 other couples and we learned so much together!

  • we had so many questions that were all answered

  • we became a team and supported each other

  • we made decisions together for our unborn baby

  • we created a deeper bond and trust

  • we met other expectant couples who had the same fears and concerns as we did.

By having a relaxed partner at my side in labor, I relaxed. No matter what happens in labor or what medical choices a couple make, having a relaxed and supportive labor coach makes all the difference. Independent childbirth classes do not have mandatory expectations that the father of the baby attends the class. Many dads are just not made to support birth, although their presence is so valuable. Some women will therefore choose to also hire a doula or recruit a friend to be their class companion. Since these classes are much smaller than hospital based classes, all are welcome to accompany the expectant mother to the classes.

5. Childbirth classes are worth the expense

Out of hospital childbirth classes are usually a little bit more expensive than hospital classes. This is quite often the main reason that couples decide to not take an independent childbirth class. Money should not get in the way of preparing yourself for one of the biggest moments of your life. Many of these classes cost approximately the same as two dinners out! Coming to a personal childbirth class that allows you to share time together, share your fears and allow you to prepare for the birth of YOUR BABY, is immeasurable.

Here are some quotes from families that have attended my independent Natural Childbirth Class &/or HypnoBirthing ®classes:

  • “I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for a wonderful class. I truly feel more empowered and informed.  And that to me is priceless.” - Alicyn & Gareth

  • “We are thankful that our Doctor recommended your courses instead of those available at the hospital because you made this beyond educational, we felt really comforted and experienced a more personal and assuring connection throughout the course.” –Betty & Angel

  • “I have to say that I thought I'd be disappointed or traumatized by having a c-section, but it wasn't like that at all. What really helped was being so prepared by the classes and that every step of the way, my midwife respected our right to discuss our options and make our own choices. We really felt so well-prepared that we knew what questions to ask and the entire staff at the hospital was so great.”-Tina

  • “Jeff and I would like to thank you so much. We could not have had such a great experience without all the information we received in your classes. We were educated, hopeful, and prepared. We are so appreciative. Jeff has been great. He's an excellent swaddler and burper. He's felt really empowered to be a hands-on dad. All this we got from your class. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”-Jazmin & Jeff

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