Question about Childbirth Classes

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mlle_carrie's picture
Joined: 07/17/05
Posts: 1134
Question about Childbirth Classes

DH and I were supposed to go to a childbirth class today, but he came down with the flu and we had to cancel. The next one isn't available until December 10, and I'm afraid we'll be cutting it too close. Am I totally missing out on any major information if I don't make it to a class? To be honest, I thought it would be more informative for DH than for me, though I was hoping it would help me to feel a bit more relaxed about the whole thing. Can you recommend any good resources to supplement the info that I would get in a class?

PAmom2boys's picture
Joined: 04/29/09
Posts: 1494

Sorry to hear your DH got sick. It probably would have been great for him to become more informed on how things might go. Have you had a tour of your hospital yet?

I had a book by penny simkin that was basically a childbirth class. It is called pregnancy childbirth and the newborn. It's not in print anymore but you could probably get it from the library. But also saw she has made childbirth books for dads/birth partners. http://www.amazon.com/Birth-Partner-Complete-Childbirth-Companions/dp/1558323570/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

_Jessicah_'s picture
Joined: 04/21/11
Posts: 1973

My DH and I did not take childbirth classes with my first pregnancy. I was pretty well informed about things so if anything came up then I just explained or the nurses did. They were really great about answering questions that we had. My DH is pretty laid back so he doesn't "speak up" a whole lot. He is a go with the flow kind of guy.

Joined: 04/10/11
Posts: 1703

I'm the type of person who has to know ahead of time and be informed. I mean, even if my experience will be different. (I like to read a billion travel books before I go new places, too.) And obviously I never planned on a the possibility of a vaginal birth! My boyfriend and I are watching a DVD with a series of classes called Laugh and Learn about Childbirth that we got out of the library. It's super insanely cheesy and so far I haven't learned anything entirely new, but somehow it's still worth it to me. It was recommended to me by someone in my (real-life) parents of multiples club. I have read a thousand books (and my boyfriend has read a little, too -- clearly he hasn't been lying on the couch for the past 8 weeks though) but mostly the books I had were about pregnancy with snippets on birth. The woman on the DVD loves quizzing the baby daddies sitting around in her class (the ones on the screen) so my boyfriend sits there and yells out, "Effacement!" "Mucous plug!" I'm pretty sure that's a hilarious enough reason to watch it.

Joined: 06/04/11
Posts: 573

I took a class with my first- it was a couple months long once a week. The lady here that teaches the class is great, and her classes filled up fast. But have not taken one since- just reading books. so to my friends here- I always recommend taking her class if they are first time moms.

fireflies11's picture
Joined: 03/26/11
Posts: 613

sorry he's sick!

Honestly, once labor hit, we were totally clueless regardless of the classes we took. I don't think I remembered a thing! Good idea to read up on it though. I would also talk to friends who have been there so you can make a solid birth plan.

But please learn from our mistake: we had no plan going into it! We just let the doctors tell us what to do and trying to make decisions at that moment is a bad place to be! We were unfortunate to have total strangers as doctors and they had terrible bedside manner. Since we really didn't have a birth plan in place, they made it for us. It was horrible and I would hate for anyone to have to go through that. We have since learned that WE make the decisions and it's okay to question the doctors, they are not gods.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

Honestly, I think those classes are a waste of time. Any information you might want/need is available in so many books out there (just not What to Expect... that book is a nightmare and will just give you nightmares lol!). I bought the Pregnancy Bible (or something like that?), which didn't give any negatives, just what's happening month by month with baby, what labor will be like, and everything else. There are tons of books like this. But IMO, nothing can really prepare you... you just figure it out day by day when baby gets here! Remember, for thousands and thousands of years people have had babies with no classes or books, and since we're all here, obviously they did something right!

.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505

We took a series of six two hour classes, based on Lamaze. I have to say, I am so thankful that we did. We each got a ton of information out of it - but you could easily get that from books. But the most helpful are some support techniques for DH to use while I'm in labour. We are already practicing using them and they have made a big difference for me already. When I am very emotional and distraught over something, DH practices the techniques and it has been a lifesaver! There are also some that help put me to sleep at night, if he is still awake when I go to bed.

One I really like is breathing together, while he talks me into a really relaxed state of mind, encouraging me to let go of stress and tension. That's good for early labour, apparently. There is also a good one called the "take charge" routine which they recommend using in active labour, and it involves more direct encouragement from DH and lots of eye contact (or focusing on an object if eye contact is too much). There's also another that I really love, where you sort of go into your own place together and shut everything out, you sit across from each other and leand your heads together sort of, while he takes your hand and massages it, while you breath in sync. There's a similar one where you stand and sway together too.

Anyway those are all things we practiced in class that I found really useful, hopefully that gives you enough info to Google with if you want to learn more. I am sure you can find Lamaze stuff online. I usually wouldn't recommend it so much since we haven't tested it in labour yet of course, but given how much it's already helped me in some really difficult times in pregnancy, I am pretty confident it's all going to come in handy while I go for a natural birth.

_Jessicah_'s picture
Joined: 04/21/11
Posts: 1973

Hilary that sounds wonderful!! I wanted to fall asleep reading it...lol I would love to learn some relaxation techniques.

Joined: 08/29/08
Posts: 303

I wasn't able to work a class into my schedule last time (and used a relaxation program on CDs instead), but I went out of my way to catch the class this time. For me, it's really about the mental game-- I want to go into my birth feeling confident and secure, and you do what you need to do so that when the birth process has actually begun, you've already put your ducks in a row so you can focus on what's important at the time, and not worry about having to actually think about stuff, if that makes sense. Blum 3

So if you're able to get your mental game on, and your confidence, and your security, from other areas, like books or videos or CDs, etc, that's terrific. It's nice to have an exposure to a wide variety of "what's normal" for other people, so that you can recognize something when it happens to you. So you might try the books and videos now, to give yourself a platform--- and then take the December class and just sort of consider it a last-minute cram session/refresher course.

Joined: 09/01/10
Posts: 534

"Starryblue702" wrote:

Honestly, I think those classes are a waste of time. Any information you might want/need is available in so many books out there (just not What to Expect... that book is a nightmare and will just give you nightmares lol!). I bought the Pregnancy Bible (or something like that?), which didn't give any negatives, just what's happening month by month with baby, what labor will be like, and everything else. There are tons of books like this. But IMO, nothing can really prepare you... you just figure it out day by day when baby gets here! Remember, for thousands and thousands of years people have had babies with no classes or books, and since we're all here, obviously they did something right!

I have to agree with you on this. My OB has asked me like three times about the classes and we just aren't into them, but I've done a lot of reading. I just assume I will future it out when I get there. I have to ask though, Krystal, why do you hate the "What to Expect" book? I've been reading it the whole time and it hasn't freaked me out yet...

PAmom2boys's picture
Joined: 04/29/09
Posts: 1494

The newest version isn't as scary as older ones were.

It has lots of helpful info. I have the page with emergency delivery tagged JIC. Biggrin

If you don't get around to studying or going to the class you'll be fine lots of people don't take the classes. Nurses see it all the time and they are really helpful teaching or just explaining any question you may have.

Joined: 10/05/09
Posts: 672

Being a FTM, I thought the class was useful. It's not that we learned anything that we couldn't learn from a book necessarily, but it forced us to spend a whole day thinking about and preparing for labour and delivery, and we just hadn't taken the time to do that before. The lady who taught the class was a doula and she gave us lots of good tips about labour and pain relief.

The most valuable part of the course for us was the hospital tour and the information the instructor gave us about local hospital policies and stats (e.g., C-Section rate, local NICU). It helped ease my mind about things I had heard (DH not allowed to stay over night which turned out not to be true) and also helped me prepare (no laughing gas available at the hospital, but there's a shower and tub).

I think it was really useful for DH as he learned about how to help support me for example when I am not sure I am in labour or not, or for pain relief during labour. He got to see the GIANT pads (or should I say diapers) they put on you after baby arrives, which is good since it took some of the embarrassment and shock out of the whole thing in advance. My DH isn't the reading type so it would have been hard to feed him all this information myself.

Overall I found it useful especially for a first time mom or dad.

You could do a bunch of reading with DH and then take the class last minute if you still have time. There were some moms at my class that had just a week to go.

Starryblue702's picture
Joined: 04/06/11
Posts: 5454

"katiek68" wrote:

I have to agree with you on this. My OB has asked me like three times about the classes and we just aren't into them, but I've done a lot of reading. I just assume I will future it out when I get there. I have to ask though, Krystal, why do you hate the "What to Expect" book? I've been reading it the whole time and it hasn't freaked me out yet...

I only bought and read it with my first baby (2002), so maybe there's a newer, better version out like Amanda said. But the one that I read, it just seemed to me that there was a lot more negative "this might happen" than positives. It's like, I get that millions of women have given birth since the beginning of time, but I don't need to know about every little thing that went wrong for all of them! It's just like all of the unsolicited advice from "BTDT" moms (even if you already are one yourself) who feel the need to tell you about their birthing horror stories once they see or find out that you're pregnant. For me, I know I'll have my own personal birthing experience, and I'll deal with whatever comes my way during L&D...

.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505

Yeah, when I phoned at made my first midwife appointment, one of the first questions the receptionist asked me was "Do you have the What To Expect When You're Expecting" book?" and I said yes, I had just gotten it as a gift! Her reply was "Don't read it! Throw it out. Don't donate it or anything, tear off the cover and throw it out!!" Haha. Around the office they all call it "What to Fear When You're Expecting" lol!

Joined: 04/10/11
Posts: 1703

Oh I didn't find it fearful in terms of pregnancy complications at all but I did think it was incredibly condescending. There was a whole section for dads-to-be about how they should start picking up their socks around the house. Then there was an insistence on using "wife" and "husband" throughout the book with a mention that it was simpler ... but it's not and they could have a wider audience without it. Anyway, the main reason I had to stop reading it was the insane push very early in pregnancy to discuss cuddly babies when I would have much preferred a more medical explanation of everything happening, particularly prior to viability.

Jenn0113's picture
Joined: 03/09/07
Posts: 5335

"katiek68" wrote:

I have to agree with you on this. My OB has asked me like three times about the classes and we just aren't into them, but I've done a lot of reading. I just assume I will future it out when I get there. I have to ask though, Krystal, why do you hate the "What to Expect" book? I've been reading it the whole time and it hasn't freaked me out yet...

This was my thought exactly with DS. We only did the hospital tour and that was pretty informative. I don't regret not doing it.

lesleynka's picture
Joined: 04/26/11
Posts: 1845

I was fine w/out going to any childbirth classes, but after hilary's post I feel like maybe we should go. Ed isn't going to have any clue what he is supposed to do & usually we are constantly picking on each other like schoolchildren. I don't think he understands that I may have to literally rip his head off if he acts that way while i am in labor. lol

Jenn0113's picture
Joined: 03/09/07
Posts: 5335

"lesleynka" wrote:

I was fine w/out going to any childbirth classes, but after hilary's post I feel like maybe we should go. Ed isn't going to have any clue what he is supposed to do & usually we are constantly picking on each other like schoolchildren. I don't think he understands that I may have to literally rip his head off if he acts that way while i am in labor. lol

That's a really good point..maybe Justin should have gone. He wasn't at all a support person.

.hilary.'s picture
Joined: 01/31/10
Posts: 1505

Give it a try Lesley! Smile if you find you don't like it, then that's okay too! Personally for me I am so much more relaxed and confident going into it and feel better knowing DH will have some "tools" to help me. He is one of those fixer-type guys so he likes to have soething to do to make whatever is bothering me better. If Ed is like that, he will probably get a lot out of it. I know for DH if I am going through something stressful and can't tell him exactly what I need, and he doesn't know what to do, we start snapping at each other and it's not fun.

lesleynka's picture
Joined: 04/26/11
Posts: 1845

".hilary." wrote:

I know for DH if I am going through something stressful and can't tell him exactly what I need, and he doesn't know what to do, we start snapping at each other and it's not fun.

Totally. I was just talking to ed & I said, "I'm afraid you are going to just be sitting there eating peanut m&ms & telling me it can't be that bad." lol SO will not work.

I think we might try to just order some dvds from the library. I am going to look into the classes in December tho.

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