Birth, Parenting, Pregnancy

It’s a Natural Process – What else do we need to know?

I hear that a lot – “pregnancy, labor and birth are natural functions of the woman’s body so what else do we need to know?”

Another one I hear is…”Why take a childbirth class? After all, the female body was designed for this.”

It is absolutely true that the female body was indeed designed specifically for pregnancy, labor, birth and breastfeeding. I don’t dispute that – but if we don’t know what to expect…if we don’t know how the process works and how to work with it….we can absolutely, without a doubt, prolong the process and experience more “pain” than was intended.

You see the female body is an absolutely incredible master piece. To be able to conceive, carry, give birth to and then feed a human being is miraculous. BUT when we go into the process uneducated then we can quite easily make it far more difficult that it was ever intended to be.

Some have said to me….”but women have been experiencing this process for generations — loooong before natural childbirth educators where around. Why do we need to know how this all works when they didn’t?”

Well, that’s not entirely true. You see there was a time when mothers taught their daughters what to expect. Women knew before hand what was going to be happening. They were also taught about labor, birth and breastfeeding – from every female member of their family. We lost that when families began to live so far apart from one another. Then we lost more of that information when medical doctors started taking over for midwives in an effort to “modernize” the process. My question is this….how do you modernize a process that does not belong to man? It was created nor invented by any human being.

The natural process is what it is because it can’t be altered or changed to fit into any schedule or any one person’s idea of what it should be — it just IS.

The couples who come through my class all want to know what to expect….how long will the labor be? Will it be painful? Will I be able to “get through it”? Many other questions come up as they travel down the road of education into better understanding BUT I am unable to answer some of their questions.

I can’t look at a woman and tell her what to expect in her labor – it’s HER labor and it hasn’t happened it. The best I can do is the best ANY childbirth educator can do — give the expectant couple a glimpse at the natural process with all of its variations so they are best equipped to handle whatever might be thrown their way.

Some childbirth educators do a great disservice to their couples by telling them labor and birth can be “painless” — this may only be true for 2/3 of all women because that’s the percentage of all women who will have a mild or no transition. What I mean by this is that 1/3 of all laboring women will experience a truly difficult transition which is the most intense part of labor. Not the part to be frightened of but, instead, the part to be cherished and appreciated because it is the part that ushers in the second stage when the mother will be given the opportunity to push with her body and hold the precious baby that’s been growing inside her.

There is so much I could go into right here but I will not for now — I just want to answer this one question….Why take a natural childbirth class?

EVERY couple needs to take a comprehensive natural childbirth class in order to better understand the natural process of pregnancy, labor and birth. Your birth attendant does not have time to teach you EVERYTHING you need to know. Natural childbirth educators keep themselves up to date on what’s going on in the birthing industry. YOU need to know what’s going on in the birthing industry. YOU need to decide what type of birthing experience will be best for both you and the baby. This can only be done by educating yourself and the best education occurs when you have someone you can ask questions of – someone who is working for YOU. Not someone who is working for the hospital or your doctor.

Any childbirth educator that works for the hospital or your doctor has to consider their own paycheck whenever you ask them a question. That does not mean that they do not want to give you accurate information but they must consider how much they love their job and whether or not they feel like having a “conversation” or being reprimanded for answering your question accurately. The first thing to consider before registering for ANY childbirth class is – who does the childbirth educator work for? The answer should be that they work for YOU the student.

Start there – WHO does the childbirth educator work for?

Next, how much time and money can you afford to invest in a comprehensive childbirth education class? I can guarantee that there’s no way to fit ALL the information into 4 or 8 hours. I have a 12 hour class but I have to admit – I can’t fit everything in during 12 hours – not everything I know and want to share with the couples. I get to know the couples as much as I can before class starts as well as during the first few minutes of class so I can make sure to get in the information that’s going to be most helpful for the couples in my class. For instance, a home birth couple is not going to need to know everything about the hospital setting. While a couple planning on a birth center or hospital birth will need to know more about interventions, medications and procedures they may encounter.

I teach the Bradley Method® because it teaches the couple what they need to know regardless of their chosen birth place or birth attendant. There are 12 classes in a series of the Bradley Method® and they will last 2 to 3 hours depending on the teacher. To locate a Bradley Method® teacher in your area visit www.BradleyBirth.com

I have been teaching long enough to know that some couples think about childbirth education when they don’t have very much time left for a full series of Bradley Method® classes. I have taught couples the very basic of what the Bradley Method® has to offer in 4 to 6 weeks. I have taught a full series in 6 weeks if the couple is willing to meet twice weekly and if that fits into my family schedule. The bottom line is this — YOU NEED to take a childbirth class especially if this is your first (even if you are planning a home birth) or if you’re planning a hospital birth – regardless of how many other children you may already have given birth to – things change and only a childbirth educator will be able to keep you current on what’s going on in your very own community.

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