A question I often hear from pregnant women and their partners is, “Do I need to take childbirth preparation classes?”
I believe that all women and partners will benefit from becoming educated about normal labor and birth. Myths are dispelled and women learn about what to expect. The "knowing what to expect”, actually reduces the fear of the unknown and empowers women for the process.
Taking childbirth classes does not mean that you have to have an un-medicated labor. On the contrary, you still have the option of many types of pain relief and are more fully informed about the options. Thirty years ago, all women having a first baby took classes. I taught those classes and recall watching pregnant women grow in knowledge and confidence as they approached the greatest physical and emotional event of their lives.
One patient recently said to me, “I don’t need to prepare for labor.” That’s like saying, “I am going to run the Boston marathon but I do not need to prepare.” Before running a marathon, you would look over the course, work out a bit ahead of time, set up support systems and get prepared. That is exactly what classes will do for you.
We see women coming in to labor who are unprepared, uninformed and fearful. Fear increases pain. I have noticed that our Cesarean birth rates have increased over 30 years. It may have something to do with our culture of fear surrounding childbirth rather than the awareness that labor and birth are normal physiologic events. Prepared childbirth classes are a good place to help women start believing in their ability to birth normally. I am so proud that SSH offers childbirth classes. Sign up today!