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What Helped Most

Four new moms write "what helped most" from birth prep classes

 

Most people seem to think that childbirth classes are about breathing patterns and formulas. I have found that information and concepts serve women and their partners just as profoundly as pain-coping techniques, and must be part of any preparation for birth.

 

 

Tanya M (unmedicated birth, UCLA Midwife Group, with doula):

 

What helped me most from class was gaining the confidence that my body was designed to give birth, that I could trust my instincts. Through the class, I was also able to discover the relaxation and pain management techniques that worked best for me. I also found the latch-on technique from the breastfeeding video to be really useful!  Lastly, I appreciated learning about the "crisis perspective" that the medical establishment has towards childbirth and the spiral of interventions. That made me really glad to be with the midwives, especially since the pushing stage of my labor lasted so long. The midwife was so patient and really worked with my body and its timing. I feel if I had been with a regular OB, things might have turned out differently.

P.S. After the first class, my husband told me, "We're getting a doula!" That was also one of the best decisions we made about the labor/delivery process. Continue to tout the benefits of the doula--for both mother and father!

 

Emma G (unmedicated birth, Calif. Med Ctr, with Supported Birth doula):

 

It's hard to say what specifically helped me during my labor.  I think overall just having an understanding of what was happening (the different stages of labor, how the baby descends, how I was emotionally and instinctively reacting) gave me the ability to trust myself, and nature-even when the nurses or midwifes seemed skeptical.  The relaxation practices we did at the end of classes really helped me at some level.  

Having my doula and husband as support was key.  I think the most helpful thing about the class was that it not only prepared me, but it also empowered he and I as a couple.  I think the class gave him more confidence and knowledge in how to help out during the birth-even though it wasn't at all how we pictured it!

 

Lori C (epidural & pit after 28 hours back labor, with doula):

 

 Well, it's hard to say what was MOST helpful, since it was ALL helpful! Class made me feel more prepared for something that is unpredictable. That's life, you can study, and know as much information as possible, but at the end of the day you have to let it all go, don't force it, surrender to the moment, and let it be what it will be. The right doctor and right hospital make all the difference. I cant stress that enough! The best part about class was how much it prepared my husband. He really used all the information and advice for being that supportive person and executed it beautifully :) That really meant the most to me, and it's what kept me focused when I wanted to lose it. The more you can teach the husbands / dads / support person how to be the rock, and how to be the 'glue' to keep it all together when its utter chaos, means the world, it meant the world to me, and I feel like any other way, we would have had a different outcome. I think seeing all the videos, and knowing what's 'normal' or to be expected really prepared him. Also just all the positions for labor and ways to help mom through the labor- he was there every step of the way which I wasn't really expecting. He had to be just as exhausted as I. Having someone 'there'  the entire time was very helpful.

 

 

Tanya F (Home birth, midwife Amy Tinney & assistants):

 

It was truly a wonderful birth!  My husband utilized a lot of skills he learned in your class to help refocus and comfort me.  He suggested position changes, knew exactly what to say, and stayed totally calm.   Once I started pushing the midwives encouraged me to trust my body and surrender (echoing much of what you taught in class).  I also want to mention that your visual demonstration of how the baby descends through the pelvis was very helpful as well.  After the final few contractions I could feel (or at least that's what I think I was feeling) the baby turning and having a visual of that helped focus me away from the discomfort and instead on my baby and I working together to meet each other.  The entire experience was nothing short of incredible in every way. It was so empowering and miraculous.  We both credit your class for helping make his birth so amazing and helping birth us as parents.  

 

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