Thinking about childbirth may feel mysterious. No two pregnancies are the same, and each birth is unique.
Childbirth classes help take the mystery out of the journey ahead, with an experienced teacher as your guide. Educating yourself about the process and what to expect takes much of the unknown aspects out of laboring, birth, and postpartum. Just like you read weekly pregnancy updates to keep tabs on what is normal and how your baby is growing, the same is true for labor. A childbirth class gives you a map of the journey ahead so you aren’t walking blindly into the unknown.
While each labor experience is different– even for a woman who has given birth six times– there is commonality in how labor progresses and how you likely will feel during the different stages. Classes help you to recognize those stages so you know when to call your provider and/or doula, what you can do during each stage, and options you have for your birthing experience. When you know all your options, including the risks and the benefits, you can make fully informed choices based on your own birth preferences.
And, we can’t forget the dads and partners. Classes aren’t just for your knowledge, it’s for them too. While us moms may put more reading and researching time into our experience, taking a class forces them to slow down and focus on the event ahead. Education helps take much of the surprises out of witnessing a birth, what they need to know, along with how they can care for you in those precious postpartum days. Taking classes together can also afford great bonding time for you both.
What if you’ve already given birth, do you really need to take childbirth classes again?
While you may have experienced birth before, a refresher course can be immensely helpful to remind you about what you already know, and also reframe your previous experience to better prepare for the next. There may be new ways to manage your labor, and additional options to consider after birth. Classes can especially be important when you are desiring a different way to birth this time around, (e.g. perhaps if you had an epidural the first time and would like to have a natural birth this time).
Childbirth classes are an investment to your entrance– or continuation– into motherhood to help ensure you are as prepared as you can be.