Childbirth education classes are almost a necessity in today”s society where birth no longer happens at home with the other family watching and children are moving to cities far from their parents and not receiving the benefits of their knowledge.
The classes help the expectant parents to learn about and prepare for the arduous task of labor and delivery of their new child.
Although the entire process must be accomplished by the expectant mother she can also have coaches and support people who can help her through the process. This role can be filled by the father, a doula, mother, mother-in-law or even close friend.
There are two basic means of teaching almost all childbirth education classes. The first is the Lamaze method and the second is the Bradley method both named after their developers. Almost all classes use one of these two methods or teach a combination of the two.
The basic premise behind both is to teach women to cope with the pains of labor and educate her on the different stages of labor so they know what to expect and what comes next. Both developers believed strongly that women should participate in the process and that this participation led to healthier deliveries and mothers who bonded more quickly with their children.
Other birthing techniques include the Alexander technique, HypnoBirthing, Birthing From Within and Birthworks. There are no right or wrong methods of managing the pain of labor and delivery as long as the method doesn’t place the mother or child in danger.
Expectant mothers should spend a bit of time learning about the different methods to find one that fits their individual needs and beliefs on childbirth. This will help them to become educated about the process in way that is comfortable and easy to absorb.
In the Lamaze method the instructors teach the expectant mothers to focus on their breathing, relaxation techniques, massage and positioning to cope with the pain of labor. They learn about the medical procedures and pain relief options that are available so they can make informed choices.
In the Bradley Method women learn about childbirth in the absence of any medical complications. The method emphasizes exercise throughout pregnancy to prepare for labor, nutrition, and deep breathing techniques to relax through the labor pains.
During some of the childbirth education classes the instructors encourage the mother to make a birth plan where you express your preferences before the event starts. This helps the labor and delivery staff to more fully understand the direction you’d like the birthing process to take. Share the plan with your obstetrician or Midwife ahead of time so they too are aware of your wishes.
Any of the classes that an expectant mother chooses should include information about the signs of labor, signs of premature labor, normal progress of labor and delivery, techniques for coping with the pain of labor, how your partner can support you through the process, when to call the doctor or midwife and head to the hospital, and what to expect at the hospital.
There are separate classes to teach breastfeeding and techniques of nursing but childbirth education classes should also cover the basics of breastfeeding and immediate newborn care. Most classes also have videos of normal vaginal birth and a cesarean section so that mothers are prepared as best as possible before the birth of their child.
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