I’ve run across people who don’t understand why people take childbirth classes. They feel that it’s a natural function of a woman’s body and she shouldn’t need a class to teach her what to do. They are right – it is a natural function of her body and just as the body knows how to breathe so too does it know how to birth a baby. What she needs to learn is how to get out of the way.
You see there are some counter-intuitive things about birth that women may resist if they don’t understand how the process works and what daily living has taught them that may interfere with that process.
For instance, what should a woman be doing during the hours of labor that are simply opening the cervix wide enough for the baby’s head to move through? She could become anxious, excited, worried, scared, etc but all of these will work against her as all of these increase the flow of adreneline and the body responds with the fight or flight reflex. This reflex slows or may even stop cervical dilation preparing for flight. What she should be doing is what she wants to do…..rest if she wants to rest, clean house if she wants to clean house, eat and drink if that’s what her body signals her to do.
How about when her body signals the need to urinate or have a bowel movement? This is not necessarily the body saying that it’s time to push the baby out but if she follows her instincts she will try to close her legs and this will be counter productive. We have been trained from our toddler years that we tighten those sphincter muscles until we can reach a toilet but in birth women need to relax those muscles even when they are not on the toilet. What she is feeling may have nothing to do with needing to urinate or have a bowel movement. It may simply be a sign that her baby is descending so relaxing these muscles will ease the intensity of the sensations she is feeling.
Finally, what should a pregnant woman be eating in order to experience a healthy increase in blood volume? The blood volume must increase by 60% in order to support the lives of both mother and child. When this does not occur, the pregnant woman is at higher risk for a number of “pregnancy induced disorders” that she has control over. The increase of blood volume occurs only with a well-balanced, designed-only-for-pregnant-women type of diet. I teach this nutrition program in my classes. I’d LOVE to teach it to women BEFORE pregnancy so they can get started on it as soon as they confirm a pregnancy. I’d settle for teaching this program to women in their first trimester.
So, you can see that the items I’ve talked about above are some really GREAT reasons to find a childbirth course. They are not the only reasons to take a course and not every childbirth course will teach what expectant women really need to know. Any course that is less than 16 hours will be leaving a lot of information out. Be wise and ask lots of questions before signing up for a course…..make sure the money you pay is worth it…..