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I am looking at doing natural childbirth this time around with my 2nd babe. I had to be induced and have an emergency csection with my first son, I had all intentions of natural childbirth then. So I am attempting VBAC this time. Now all that aside, did any of you veterns take classes, and how important were they for you in the labor process. My hospital offers child birth classes, but the main focus is on medication and so forth, and so I was looking up Lamaze and the Bradley method classes, but nothing in my area.....arghghgh
I took the free hospital class with Ani. It prepared me very well to be a good patient and get an epidural.
I took Bradley classes with Cameron. I do not think I would have been able to make through labor without the tools I learned in that class. Coping with labor did not come naturally to me. I wish I had taken the classes when I was pregnant with Ani but no one in my area taught them then.
~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 14 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008) Smaller on the Outside
I took the hospital course with my first - and though it gave good information (hospital tours, policies, etc..) it was mostly geared to show ppl how to be good patients.
In addition to taking the hospital class, I read "Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way", "The Birth Book", and "The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth". I also practiced the relaxation techniques in the first book. This equipped me with the knowledge necessary to go into a natural childbirth.
My recommendation? READ READ READ. Educate yourself. If you are interested in the Bradley Method or Lamaze but there are no classes in your area, pick up "Natural Childbirth The Bradley Way" from your library or from ebay. Look up "Childbirth Without Fear" and "Painless Childbirth" for information on the precepts of Dr. Grantly-Dickread and Dr. Ferdinand Lamaze. They are all great reads full of a wealth of information.
Finally, I recommend, more than any of the others, Ina May's "Guide to Childbirth". It is full of positive birth stories and an honest look at true natural childbirth. It is amazing and beautifully written (it is also not as hippy as her previous book "Spiritual Midwifery".
We paid for the hospital classes, but only went to half of one. It just wasn't worth out time, especially since I was already determined to have a natural birth. I read tons of books, magazines, and on-line articles so I could learn as much as possible and went by that information instead of traditional classes.
<div align="center"><span style="font-family:Book Antiqua">[b]I'm A
Natural Birthing, Delayed-Vaxing, Sleep Sharing, Baby Wearing, Tandem Breastfeeding, Cloth Diapering, Never Spanking Mama to two Beautiful, Healthy and Intact Little Babies</div>
How important are classes? It really depends on you and your DH. How informed and determined are you? How informed and supportive is he? Do you plan to have a doula? Does your doula do childbirth-class type prenatal visits? Do you plan a hospital birth or homebirth?
If you plan to have a hospital birth w/o a doula, or with a doula who is not very experienced with natural birth, then you are likely to benefit from a class, even if you have to drive for it.
If you have a doula who can do chilbirth classes for you, is experienced in natural birth, or if you plan a homebirth with a midwife, then you probably don't need classes.
I'm a big fan of doing what works for you to get through labor, rather than doing what some class (or midwife or nurse or OB) tells you will get you through labor. HOWEVER, that "I'll just do what I need to to get through" attitude doesn't last very long once you step foot through the hospital doors. They can make it very hard to do anything except what they think you need to do.
Basically, no matter where you birth, you will need someone who is experienced and trained in natural birth present. If that someone isn't a good doula or midwife, then you'll need to take classes so that someone can be you and your husband.
Charlotte, midwife mama to Samuel and Atley, mourning the loss of our "March Baby"