I often get asked if taking a childbirth class is necessary. My response is ABSOLUTELY..but there are a few things to consider/decide before registering.
- In a hospital based class, the educator is educating you in childbirth, but also about the facility. We of course want our hospital look favorable (I know this because I teach in the hospital I work! I very much love where I work but it doesn’t mean that I don’t sugar coat some practices or policies that I don’t necessarily love when teaching because it would be frowned upon otherwise) Also just because you take a class in a hospital it doesn’t mean that the nurses that are with you in labor and delivery are teaching the classes. The reason that matters is because practices change and while childbirth education has many factors, really knowing what is likely to occur in the real world is sometimes very different then what “should” happen.
- Many of the out of hospital classes are taught by lay people certified in childbirth education. These educators often have other services they offer (i.e. doulas, placenta encapsulators, prenatal yoga) and while those services have a place, they also have an agenda, because being perfectly honestly birth is a business. Make sure you know the services or philosophies of your educator beforehand and make sure they are practicing within their scope. A childbirth educator is not a therapist, cannot teach psychology and cannot give medical advice. It is also important to ask what their educational background is and if they attend births. If they do attend births how many do they attend and what is their role in that attendance. If you take an out of hospital class, I highly recommend taking a free hospital tour prior to delivery. This will orient you to where to park, visiting hours, and discharge. Be aware though that tours are often giving by lay staff so they will not be able to answer clinical questions.
- Method classes, i.e. The Bradley Method, Hypnobirthing, Gentle Birth: The principle of many of the classes is relaxation and support. If you are planning to use one of these methods be ready to make the commitment to practice the techniques daily. These techniques can be very valuable during labor but if you are not willing to engage in daily practice they often go out the window.
Once you find a class that fits you, take it all in and ask a lot of questions. Review the information given to you a few times before the birth so you have working knowledge of what is occurring, when. Remember that a class is not a replacement for open communication with your doctor or midwife, who is ultimately the person you should have the most trust in during this process.
If you would like more information on our childbirth classes taught by Labor and Delivery RN’s, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 732-460-1300 x 302.