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There arent any really good birthing classes in my area that i have found... not even lamaze or anything..[/b]
We don't really have any good classes around here either. I have been reading so much! You'll have to find something that fits for you, so check out some of these resources... For books, read the reviews at amazon to see what other people say. For instance, some books are a little "new-agey" for me, so reading the reviews helped.
www.spinningbabies.com - This site is helpful for getting your baby positioned right. If your baby is in a good position, you'll be less likely to run into complications.
www.childbirth.org - I don't use this site a whole lot, but it is a starting point for a variety of helpful information.
www.hypnobabies.com - I'm doing the hypnobabies home study. After reading several books about natural childbirth and pain management, I started hearing a lot of good things about hypnosis. I just wish they hadn't used the word "hypnosis" because it makes it sound weird. It really is just a technique for deep relaxation. I am doing the home study course and love it. Hypnobabies is very practical and I am able to really relax. It also fills your mind with only positive thoughts about your pregnancy and childbirth. Eliminating fear is very important! You can join the hypnobabies yahoo group even if you aren't doing the course if you want to find out more about it. I think the link to the group is found on the 'Current Students' page.
As far as books go...
One thing you will hear a lot about in natural childbirth books is the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle - This was written about in the 30s or 40s by a doctor named Grantly Dick-Read. The idea is that fear creates tension, which results in pain. The key is relaxation so the muscles in your uterus do not tense up and work against each other. (The uterus has layers of muscles that are designed to open and push the baby out - If a mother is in a fearful, dangerous situation, the body shuts labor down. The muscles in the uterus work against each other, which results in pain!) Dr. Dick-Read was a little before his time - He knew it was possible to give birth without pain (or with minimal pain) because he had seen women do it. He realized that FEAR was a huge factor in whether or not there was pain.
I started with The Birth Book by Dr. Sears back at the beginning of my pregnancy - It has a lot of basic info. I moved on from that by researching the Bradley Method. I ended up getting a book that bases a lot of its philosophy on the Bradley Method, but also has helpful info from a Christian perspective, which is important to me. If you are interested in that too, the book is Christ Centered Childbirth by Kelly Townsend. It is a very thorough book in that it contains info about exercise/nutrition, stages of labor, pain management techniques, etc. The point is that you should look for a book that has a variety of info to help prepare you for what is coming. Another book from a Christian perspective that I really love is the 40 Weeks Devotional Guide to Pregnancy by Jennifer Vanderlaan.
I've heard this book recommended a lot:
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
As I mentioned before, I'm doing the Hypnobabies home study now, but the other books gave me a good foundation. The reading material that comes with hypnobabies goes over the exercise/nutrition, stages of childbirth, physiology, etc. also. The main difference with hypnobabies is that the idea is that there will be no pain... only "pressure." This is part of the positive thinking. I'm still prepared for whatever happens.
EDIT: I just realized you said you are doing hypnobirthing. I bought the Hypnobirthing book by Marie Mongan before the hypnobabies home study. The Hypnobirthing book came with a CD so it gave me an overview of what hypnosis is, but it is not designed as a home study, so you won't get the full benefits of it without a class. Also, I am liking hypnobabies even more... the scripts are much more practical and work better for me than the hypnobirthing CD.
You are in an awesome city to have a natural birth, Calgary is a great place for that. Have you seen the Birthing magazine that is published there? If not, seek it out, I am sure that group can show you were to get some prenatal classes in before the birth.
I too did a TON of reading, but when the moment of truth arrived, my mind turned to mush and had it not been for my midwife pretty much getting in my face and telling me what to do and when to do it, I wouldn't have been as successful at birthing my son as I was.
I absolutly think keeping your body relaxed and learning about that whole fear tension thing is most important thing. The more you panic the more tense you become and the harder your labor is.
I read a Bradley book Natural childbirth the bradley way for my last pregnancy and really liked it. I like to read a lot of them and take what I can from each book.
i would say the most important thing you could do.. no matter where you are is ..
get empowered through knowledge and trust your own abilities. read a ton of books.. but avoid any conventional books that wil lmake you feel less confident. (like the ones that say.. dont be a superhero.. tkae the drugs!!)
you can do it, and if you visualize it to be amazing and wonderful.. so it shall be!!