Women have been doing this for centuries, well before classes came along.
True. However, birth before classes was also birth before dozens of medical interventions and hospital policies. Today’s couples have not been organically schooled in birth as they helped their moms and aunts tend to laboring women.
With all the TV and YouTube videos about birth, why should I sit through class?
As a childbirth educator, I’ve spend hours online combing through YouTube offerings to find good examples for class. It’s mostly futile. Most birth stories online are scary and fear based. The inaccurate assumptions made regarding birth can be problematic for someone wanting to learn about birth. And TV? Well doulas want to throw things at the TV when a birth comes on. 99% of TV births are wildly off base
I’ve already had a baby.
While experience is quite helpful, unless you also learned pros and cons of interventions, what the cascade of interventions is and how to avoid it, there’s still much information to gain. A mom of four came through one of my classes and was shocked there was so much she didn’t know.
I’m planning an epidural as soon as I get uncomfortable.
While an epidural can minimize your need to cope, not all epidurals give 100% relief. And not every woman qualifies for one. Even if you plan it, there are procedures that have to be done prior and if anesthesia is tied up elsewhere, you’re in a bind. It’s always great to learn to cope with pain. Besides, coping techniques are only a small part of what’s covered in class.
My doctor will tell me all I need to know.
Oh how nice it would be if every doctor had 10-12 hours to give you a thorough education. And how nice it would be if every doctor desired educated patients. Sadly this isn’t the case, but that’s another blog post.
The nurses will tell me all I need to know.
We love nurses. LOVE them. Let’s assume they have time to give you a crash course in labor (they don’t). Let’s assume labor isn’t too late to learn all about childbirth (it is). The truth is, unless they’ve studied it elsewhere, nurses aren’t generally trained in normal childbirth or even coping techniques. They are well trained in medical interventions and can save your life and your baby’s life. Some of the ones I’ve met aren’t aware of the cascade of interventions (one intervention, even such a simple one as if you labor in the bed instead of out of the bed, can lead to another intervention, then another, until you possibly end at a Cesarean birth).
I have great books to read.
We love books! We don’t love fearful books like that What to Expect one…so first you must find evidence based books. That’s a great start. But books lack the ability to explain the birth culture in your area/hospital. In the DFW area, policies and procedures are completely different from one hospital to another. Even different providers in the same practice may “allow” certain things their partners don’t.
I went to the hospital class.
Hospital classes are an interesting concept. Many childbirth educators teaching for the hospital have been asked not to teach on the risks of epidurals because epidurals make a lot of money for the facility. Some hospitals simply have nurses teach (see number 6). We often call hospital classes “how to be a good patient” classes. Expect fear and little actual preparation for birth.
I don’t have the time.
We understand everyone is busy today. We also understand we, as a culture, waste hours on social media each day, we binge watch Netflix. Sometimes we make time to research a new purchase, which is wonderful. But don’t you think your body getting a tiny human out is worth a few hours a week and a little more research than the best stroller?
I don’t have the money. The hospital class is free/cheap.
Here’s the hard truth-if you don’t invest some money now, you may pay for it later with a higher C-section risk and possibly a higher postpartum depression risk. There are high quality, no cost classes in Wichita Falls for anyone close enough to drive there (open to anyone. See www.foundationsprenatal.org for more info). If you don’t live near there and truly can’t afford a class, reach out to the instructor. Many will negotiate the price or may have you contribute in some way (help set up/tear down) to “pay” for your part.
Wendy, Angie and Rebekah are the Doulas of Decatur, Texas. They are professional, certified doulas that have attended more than 300 births and have over 20 years combined experience. They serve the greater rural North Central Texas area including North Fort Worth, Decatur, Denton, Gainesville, Wichita Falls and surrounding areas.