You’re pregnant (yay!) and feeling that wonderful mix of excitement and anticipation about the day when you finally get to meet your baby. Every day your bump gets a tiny bit bigger and the reality of welcoming a new family member sinks in.
But do you ever think about the day you’ll actually get to meet your bubba? From going in to labour and what that will feel like to giving birth and the first few hours and days with your new baby; recovering, breastfeeding and settling … the truth is, how do you know what to expect if you’ve never done it before?
Then the question of childbirth education comes up and you start to wonder, ‘do I really need prenatal classes?’
I like to use the analogy of running a marathon when it comes to preparing for childbirth…
Would you just rock up on the day of the event without any training and expect to run the 42Kms with no issues? Ahh, let’s hope not!
You’d train hard, research running and stretching routines, get the right equipment and support crew to meet you at various checkpoints along the way as well as make sure you had the best nutrition to fuel your run.
That makes sense, right?
And yet, while it seems obvious that you’d prepare for a marathon, there are many who don’t apply that same logic to childbirth.
Childbirth is a natural physiological process that women have experienced since the dawn of mankind. So why the need for prenatal classes you ask?
While the process of childbirth hasn’t changed much, what has changed is the setting in which we give birth and our modern society that no longer lives in tribal groups and close knit communities. Once upon a time you’d often witness the birth of siblings, cousins etc. and be around babies from a young age. Today, the first time many parents have any experience with childbirth or newborns is when they’re in the thick of it themselves – and it’s only natural to feel a little apprehensive about the unknown.
I’ve shared this story many times, so apologies for sounding like a bit of a parrot, but even as a midwife I was completely oblivious to the value of childbirth education when my first baby Polly was born. So much so that I told my husband Ross not to worry about doing anything in preparation for the big day.
What a silly mistake that was!
There were times when we both felt completely unprepared for what was happening, and Ross felt scared at some stages because he simply didn’t know what was happening or what he could do.
I’m not about making expecting parents fearful or nervous about the big day. There’ll be plenty of other people trying to do that for you – and you should let all that negativity go in one ear and out the other! In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I believe in arming expecting parents with knowledge; because everyone has the right to feel calm, empowered and totally capable as they prepare to give birth to their baby.
My mission is to better the birth experience for all and I believe one of the ways we can do that is through education.
As a midwife who has delivered hundreds of babies and a childbirth educator who has worked with thousands of expectant parents both face-to-face and online, I’ve seen the power of education firsthand.
It’s the difference between understanding why your body is doing what it’s doing and calmly accepting the intensity of contractions or completely freaking out, wondering what on earth is happening (and actually making it feel worse in the process).
It’s the difference between understanding exactly what’s involved with an epidural and knowing the time it takes to have one if you chose, compared to feeling completely deflated and scared when you’re told it’s too late.
It’s the difference between making confident, informed decisions about what happens to you and your baby during and after labour or feeling as though your decision-making power has been stripped from you because you didn’t understand what was happening.
It’s the difference between having that ‘We’ve totally got this’ feeling before childbirth or a ‘let’s just wing it and see.’
The day you meet you baby is one of the most remarkable and memorable of your life. If there’s a way to feel more prepared, calm and excited about it, wouldn’t you want to?
While Birth Beat and our Ultimate Online Prenatal Program are my purpose and passion, I’m not here to tell you that it’s your only childbirth education option. Although, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’d love to see you inside the program!
Childbirth education comes in many different forms.
Face-to-face hospital classes, private classes and online classes….
What’s important is that you chose and option that feels right for you and your support partner. One that makes you feel comfortable, informed and prepared. One that suits your needs both in terms of content and accessibility. One where you feel like you know and trust your instructor and their experience.
If you have any questions about our program or want to know more, we are always here to help. Just email [email protected] and either myself or one of my amazing team members will get back to you as soon as possible.
In short, do you need to do prenatal classes? No, you don’t need them. But, will they help you prepare for your best birth experience, giving you a sense of empowerment knowing exactly what is happening to your body and why (plus so much more)? Absolutely.