One of the many things that I love about Baby+Company are all the wonderful classes, events, and resources that are available to patients and the community. A few weeks ago, I recapped our experience in both the Breastfeeding Basics & Newborn Care class, and this week, I’m sharing my experience with the 4-week ‘The Birth Journey’ birthing class series.
Most hospitals either require or highly suggest that parents-to-be enroll in a childbirth class to prepare both mom and her birth partner for what to expect during labor and delivery. Popular classes include Lamaze, the Bradley Method, Hypnobirthing, and perhaps your local hospital’s own take on labor and delivery. Most of the time, these courses are an added fee and not included in your care. When I heard that Baby+Company includes classes as part of our ‘global fee’, I was pleasantly surprised, and also eager to learn all about birthing in a birth center setting.
Our ‘Birth Journey’ classes took place over a 4-week period in late April through mid-May on Wednesday evenings from 6pm – 8:30pm. There were 8 couples/expectant parents that also participated in this series, which was co-taught by Connie and Lorraine. All the classes were taught at the birth center in the education and community room, which was a convenient and comfortable atmosphere. It also provided us with the opportunity to spend time in the birth suites and get acclimated to the environment in which we all hope to birth our babies.
Since it is a requirement of all first-time parents (and open to parents who have had previous births but not in a birth center setting) to attend The Birth Journey series, I won’t go into too much detail on each of the specific classes, but rather provide a broad overview of the topics we covered and discussed:
- The 5 “P’s” – position, passageway, powers, passenger, psyche
- Labor Signs – possible, preliminary, and positive signs
- Stages of Labor – Early, Active, Transition, Pushing, Delivery of the Placenta and Postpartum
- Contractions – longer, stronger, and closer together
- 5.1.1, 4.1.1, or 3.1.1 (when to call the birth center)
- Positions for Labor & ways to ease discomfort
- Birthing balls, Rebozo, Pilates bar, water (bath or shower), acupressure, massage
- Coping Strategies
- Relaxation, positioning and movement, distraction, comfort measures, stress reduction, support
- Reframing Pain
- We talked about the fear-tension-pain cycle and relaxation techniques to reframe what we may be perceiving as pain. I love the new acronym we learned!
- PAIN – purposeful/progressive, anticipated, intermittent, normal
- Support Team
- We discussed many tips and tricks or our labor support team (spouse, doula, friend or family member) and had many opportunities to practice
- Positive Birth Stories
- We were encouraged to seek out positive birth stories from friends/family, or from the internet/blogs/podcasts. Baby+Company has several on their webiste here.
- What to expect in the few hours and weeks AFTER baby arrives
- SPEND – sleep, pee, eat, nurse, drink
Both my husband and I learned so much from ‘The Birth Journey’ series and are very appreciative to Connie, Lorraine, and Baby+Company for offering such a wonderful class experience as a perk of being a member of the Baby+Company family. We were able to connect with other like-minded couples who are on the same journey in a judgement-free zone and it truly was an informative and empowering few weeks. We both feel much better equipped and prepared for the weeks that lie ahead.
And for an update on what I’m reading now:
I finished reading Mindful Birthing: Training the Mind, Body, and Heart for Childbirth and Beyond right before this class series began and I found it incredibly helpful as it provides suggestions and real-life practice to use mindfulness techniques and meditation during labor and childbirth.
The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth by Genevieve Howland. I may be nearing the end of my pregnancy journey, but I highly recommend any mama-to-be to read this book, no matter where you are on your journey. It’s an updated, more naturally-minded approach to a weekly guide to pregnancy and what you should expect, with so many great resources, recipes, and so much more!