Supported Birth Covid Update: We are holding in-person classes (5 couples max) and can hold virtual/Zoom classes upon request.
Serving the Greater Los Angeles area
Serving the Greater Los Angeles area

Searching for Birthing Classes in Los Angeles? Find Supported Birth

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childbirth-education-classes-at-Supported-Birth-in-Los-Angeles

Searching “Birthing Classes Los Angeles”?

You are presented with dozens of options, similar-sounding descriptions, different tones, and promises. There are no homogeneous “Lamaze” classes anymore, but the term is often still used for any childbirth preparation class. I get calls from women who are confused and unsure what “type” of childbirth education class they should take or want to take. I don’t blame women for being confused – this phase of life is already flooding them with information. What to do, eat, wear, buy, hire, prepare while pregnant, birthing, and during the postpartum period. 

Women wonder about childbirth preparation “methods,” childbirth education “approaches.” They are not sure what pregnancy classes in Los Angeles should look like. I don’t blame them! After 27 years of teaching, I know that people reach this point in their lives with very little knowledge about the subject of pregnancy and childbirth, much less knowledge about what it is they need to know; they don’t know what it is that they don’t know!

They have grown up with Hollywood representations of birth: water breaking, a woman screaming in immediate excruciating pain, wanting to die, hating and blaming her husband, rushing to the hospital, chaos, and emergency on the stretcher, screaming and pushing surrounded by white coats, fainting, hysteria, violation, exposure, and then either a miraculous sweating lifechanging moment (seeing the baby) or a medical emergency (the details of which are unclear, but the message that childbirth is dangerous is very clear). They have also probably seen parodies of the opposite extreme – longhaired hippies giving birth in yurts or in the ocean, blissful and orgasmic, naïve, misguided, laughable. Either of these stereotypes can lead to the desire for a blank state of denial about knowing anything at all: “Let’s just leave it to the professionals. I’ll walk into the hospital, and they’ll take it from there.”

Where to begin?

I started teaching childbirth classes in Los Angeles in 1996. It is now 2022. Most of my students had their babies at hospitals on the west side: Cedars, St Johns, Santa Monica-UCLA, UCLA-Ronald Reagan, Kaiser, Little Company of Mary, Good Sam, and less so, Torrance Memorial, St Joseph’s, Kaiser, and more. I have had many couples who had midwife-attended home births or birth center births. I have seen social trends, hospital protocols, and care providers come and go: birth plans, induction, episiotomies. Someday I will write my book or article “Confessions of a Childbirth Educator.” 

childbirth-preparation-class-at-Supported-Birth-in-Los-Angeles

Components of your birth class

Here is what I think makes for a good birthing class in Los Angeles.

1. Acknowledgment of common fears and worries, some of which must be embraced (the unknown, the future, parenthood), some of which are myths (dying from an infinite list of mysterious dangers, the need for high rates of medical intervention), and some of which are justified but can be controlled to some extent (lack of privacy, lack of freedom & respect during birth, forced decisions).

2. An understanding of Birth Models around the world (Midwifery vs. Obstetric), viewing America with a social, historical, and cultural perspective.

3. The Unlearning of most of what has been absorbed throughout life.

4. Basic anatomy & physiology of birth result in an understanding of why it is beneficial to move and change positions in labor rather than be immobile. There’s no moral imperative to “natural” birth – it’s just that it is physiologically more optimal. Women are put on bed rest to prevent preterm labor/extra pressure on the cervix. So when we put women in bed during labor, why are we surprised when labor slows down from the decreased pressure on the cervix? Same principle. 

5. The Needs of the Laboring Woman – darkness, quiet, privacy, freedom of movement, support, encouragement. 

6. Labor Support – having a team that supports you, no matter what you desire.

7. Stages of Labor – emotional and physical signs of progressing labor and expected, normal “crises of confidence.”

8. Coping Techniques, positions practice, guided relaxations, focusing & breathing techniques, labor scenarios. I used to be ambivalent about the idea of “practicing” for labor, but I have found that couples really expect and appreciate it, and I think something can be said for muscle memory. Presenting the wide range of variations in labor, showing there is no “one size fits all.”

9. Addressing partners’ issues and acknowledging their different experiences of the process. 

10. Medical interventions, C-sections. Honest and evidence-based presentation of true medical risks, the incidence of their occurrence (very low), and what is done when they occur (in or out of a hospital). 

Distinguishing between this handful of tangible (not “unknowable”) risks (cord prolapse, placental abruption, shoulder dystocia) and the risks that may be the result of medical interventions (fetal distress or uterine hyperstimulation, hemorrhage, prolonged labor, induction on unripe cervix). Questioning why the U.S. c-section rate is close to 1 in 3 women, with no improvements in maternal and fetal outcomes from when we were at 1 in 20 women.

11. Postpartum – life is about to change. Anticipating physical and emotional recovery, changes in the relationship, validating the struggles and “negative” emotions.

12. Babies – basic breastfeeding, soothing, newborn needs.

13. Closure – a reunion a few months after the babies are born, to share the success! You really did it!

Childbirth classes in Los Angeles ideally create a small sharing community and a sense of empowerment that comes from knowledge of your manageable options and choices in an area where you feel lost and overwhelmed. My couples are entering into parenthood, which is a lifelong process of learning and changing. The birthing classes are the beginning of this process.

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