Whether you choose an OB attended hospital birth complete with an epidural, a midwife attended homebirth, or somewhere in between, you should take a birth class! Why? Because you need to know what to expect!
A surprising number of women only know what to expect about birth from what they’ve seen on TV. And as a birth photographer, I can assure you that it doesn’t look anything like Rachel giving birth to Emma on Friends – or really any of the births on television! Not enough? Well, here are five reasons why you need a birth class:
1. To understand your birth options
Most women (in the US anyway) automatically assume that when they give birth, they’ll go to the hospital, get an epidural, and be on their way. But there are many ways
to give birth: in the hospital with an OB or midwife, at a birth center, or at home. A good birth class will help you understand your options and make the right one for you. There isn’t a wrong way, as long as you’re making an informed decision!
2. To understand your pain relief options
Even if you plan on having an epidural, it’s a good idea to be prepared in case that doesn’t happen. You never know how birth will go – maybe your labor will go too fast and there won’t be time! Or maybe the anesthesiologist will be tied up elsewhere, and you find yourself trying to deal with contractions drug free. Instead, prepare by taking a birth class. Learn some coping techniques and you’ll be prepared just in case. Not interested in an epidural? You may be interested in birth classes specializing in hypnobirthing or Lamaze.
3. To understand how birth works
A shocking number of women don’t know that the birth process isn’t over when the baby comes. There’s the afterbirth to contend with, but many women don’t find out about it until they’re in the delivery room. Birth shouldn’t be a mystery – you shouldknow exactly what to expect, and that includes all the possible complications. Not to scare you, but so you will be informed. Finding out you need an emergency C-section is a lot less intimidating if you know what a C-section entails.
4. To understand how you and your partner will handle birth
Birth class isn’t just for you. It’s also for your partner! Both of you should understand what all goes into birth, and both of you should prepare for the big day. Do you want your partner to be there with you the whole way? Or would you prefer to rely on someone else like a doula? Or maybe your partner and your doula will work together? Going through a birth class will help you figure out what will work best for everyone.
5. To meet other moms
This final reason is really just a bonus! When you attend a birth class, you’ll have the opportunity to meet other women who are about to become moms too. Women who are going through – and will go through – exactly what you are going through. In addition to learning about birth, you might even make a new friend. Definitely a little extra incentive.
Even if you feel prepared for you birth, please consider taking a birth class. You can find them at your local hospital, birth center, or care provider. Here in OKC, birth classes (as well as other classes on breastfeeding, babywearing, and more) are available through the Thrive Mama Collective.