Birth classes are one of the most important things you can do during your pregnancy, but many couples ignore them because they don’t think it’s possible to fit them in. I’m not only going to show the easiest way to fit them in, but also remind you of five of the most important reasons you need to get them done (my jaw dropped with #6).
But first, why do I know so much about birth classes?
Hi — I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of Labor & Delivery nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I have sat at the bedside of countless moms who wished they had taken a birth class when some of these realities start to hit in the labor room. I don’t want that for you — so I’m going to share what they’d tell you if they could!
Before we get going — let me clarify about names. These types of classes go by all SORTS of names: birth class, hospital class, prenatal class, even some still call it Lamaze. But they’re all the same and should include things from pregnancy, through birth and postpartum life (not just pain management). 🙂
Reasons You Need to Take a Birth Class
Now, the reasons are going to differ from family to family, but these are some great reasons why YOU need to take a class today!
Before we get going, it is easier than ever to do a birth class with your partner, I recommend this one.
Up-To-Date on New Stuff
A lot of us take our tips from our mom, or a sister… and while those can be SUPER helpful in general they may be different than what you will experience.
Choices for induction, methods for pain relief and how we communicate with our providers have all changed since I started L&D in 2001. Be sure to take a class with someone who can keep you up-to-date on those!
For instance: My mom had no useful information on epidurals because she got a pudundal block (I don’t even know how to spell it)…. so listening to how painful that was…. wasn’t helpful. 🙂
Get Your Partner Involved
A lot of you are going to follow pregnancy information on the social platforms you follow. That’s great! BUT is your partner doing the same?
It’s super easy to think that you are the one going through birth, but birth is a family affair and they need to be just as prepared as you are!
As a nurse at the time of my first baby I had done a lot of labor and delivery (I did my capstone in L&D) but my husband had only seen cows birthed on his family’s farm (true story here). So, taking a class together reminded us that this was actually happening. It allowed us to process it together and become a TEAM (rather than him saying “you’ve got this babe” from the corner).
Some partners (and moms) can get pretty overwhelmed at the whole delivery idea — so it’s important to find one you can take in bite-sized pieces. This one just has under 20 minute chunks you can do every few days and get prepared without getting overwhelmed!
I love what Jordan had to say:
Stop Being Afraid
Are you holding any fear about your birth, or what will happen in the delivery room? Honestly, that’s pretty normal. It’s a very BIG life-changing event. But the actual nuts and bolts of the birth don’t need to be something that you are afraid of.
So often I hear about moms who are just worried sick about how to handle the whole medical nature of their birth that they are just tamping that fear down and trying to ignore it. Does that sound familiar?
We all know that fear is still there, and information is going to combat it.
I’ve actually studied this class and people say their anxiety about birth decreased by 60% just by taking the class, and they felt 74% more prepared after taking it. Wouldn’t that feel amazing?
Remove the Scary Stack
What do I mean about the scary stack — let me tell you!
So, the scary stack happens when you go up to admitting and they have 400 questions for you that you’re not quite prepared for. Then, you go back to the labor room, you’re not even sure how to wear the gown. The monitors seem weird and you’re not sure why they need that information.
Then the nurse starts into about 8,000 questions (if admitting was 400, the nurse is well over 20 times their number) that many send you for a LOOP. You have no idea they expected you to know all of this and it’s getting very real.
Each contraction is killing you and you’re not sure how to cope or if you can move around….
She needs to check your cervix to see how dilated you are, but you’re not sure what the numbers mean and if they’re good or bad. She says you’re doing fine but you’re not sure why she’s saying that.
Then she’s saying you need an IV and you didn’t know this was coming. You hate needles and you have no idea how this is going to feel.
Can you see how these things are like me adding textbooks to your outstretched arms? Each one starts to build until your anxiety is soaring.
You cruise through admitting because you knew the key to that desk. The nurse asks a lot of questions, but you’re feeling so confident as you go through them (plus you told your mom not to come right away because you really don’t need her hearing ALL of that — if you know what I mean).
The cervical exam comes, but you know to wiggle your toes so it doesn’t hurt as much. You knew just what your cervix was because of how you were feeling. A mental high five happens between you and your partner for laboring so well at home.
You knew the IV was coming. You already knew the risks and the benefits and you know it’s the best choice for your birth. You ask for a saline lock because that seems smartest right now.
You feel that confidence rush as the nurse leaves the room. You absolutely love her and know she’s going to be a great partner in your birth today.
These are two VERY normal scenarios in labor. I’ve actually only talked about your first hour or so in labor — and the day can just continue with more scary things, or more preparation.
If you get educated that scary stack disappears. You don’t have to hold those heavy books! At a minimum they’re some scary pamphlets that you toss to your partner who already knows to put them on your tray table. 🙂
It really CAN be like this, with just a few hours of preparation…. (I’m serious, just about 3 hours total gets you prepared).
Eliminate Previous Birth Trauma
This one’s for my second+ time moms. Did you love your first birth? Or, do you carry your own scary stack around after that birth?
Let me just say that this birth CAN be different. Preparation is the key (and if you took a birth class last time, preparation with the right person can really make a difference). Understanding what’s going to go on (and clearing that birth trauma from last time) can be a real win as you move forward with this one.
I know you want this birth to be better. This is the key.
Decreased Cesarean Sections
Ok guys, this is the one that blew my compression socks off when I heard it.
Did you know that taking a quality birth class decreases your chance of cesarean section by almost 10%?
WHAT? I’m not even kidding! I have a whole post on birth class improving birth outcomes.
It also decreases your chances of an induction, augmentation or assisted birth (meaning forceps or a vacuum).
Honestly, at first I didn’t understand this one (because a LOT of this REALLY depends on your pelvis, and your provider). But I came up with some ideas as to why:
- You’re prepared to talk with your provider in a professional way that gives you the input you need and then you make your own choices because you’re prepared. <<I love nothing more than this! — I have a whole bonus video on provider communication just for this purpose.
- You’re prepared for what’s going to happen, so even when your labor is running long you’re not begging for a c-section. You just knew this might happen so you’re cool. 🙂 My chapter on inductions can get you 100% prepped for this!
- You incorporate movement and relaxation into your birth. Your birth space isn’t a sterile scary environment, you’ve made it homey and a place that supports your birth. There are key tips to making this happen — and sometimes it takes a pro to know them. I’ve got labor cards and a whole bonus video on natural pain management to support you in this one!
Now, this isn’t to say that we can avoid every induction or every c-section, but we can minimize them because you’re prepared to have those scary conversations with your provider about what’s best for YOU. And frankly, the conversation ends up not being scary at all. It’s really CLEAR to you what’s best. 🙂
The Online Prenatal Class for Couples was created to be:
- A one-stop shop for birth preparation (I even bring in outside pro’s to discuss topics I’m NOT a pro on like nutrition, baby sleep and breastfeeding)
- Done in bite-sized chunks so NO ONE gets overwhelmed. Or, if you’re short on time you can easily check this class off in a weekend.
- The most up-to-date class on the market. I am constantly updating it with new information. That’s the benefit of having a birth expert on your side!
You may be thinking a class this great is going to stop you from getting all the other stuff you need for your baby. But don’t worry. I even priced it to fit in your budget. I’ll see you inside!
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
- About the Author
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.