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Pregnancy, Birth & Parenting . . . Why Just "Winging It" Is NOT The Best Option

You may have noticed that I have a very strong opinion that EVERYONE should be practicing informed consent, in EVERY aspect of their lives. 

Not sure what I mean? Consider these examples . . . 

  • Before jumping on a flight to an exotic destination, would it be safe to assume that you would research potential resorts, in order to choose the best one based on location, price, amenities, etc?
  • What about buying a new car? Aren't you prepared when walking into a dealership with safety ratings, price range, and even your preferred color?
  • Even eating at a restaurant requires some research. Maybe you are a vegetarian. Maybe you are on a budget. Maybe you prefer a cloth napkin to a roll of paper towels at the end of the table.

In any case, I think we can all agree that we spend a great deal of time preparing to make even some of the most mundane decisions in life. 

So what about childbirth?

I was SHOCKED to learn how many people I know, that never attended a childbirth class. There are several options, but I have never considered one of those options to be - NONE AT ALL . It isn't possible that we (society) actually put more thought into a Friday night meal, than the details of a child's birth. . . Right?!?!

I really hate to break it to you, but reading "Belly Laughs" by Jenny McCarthy 
(which is HILARIOUS by the way), does not count as educating yourself.
Nice try though. 
Childbirth classes help prepare you for pregnancy, labor, birth and beyond. I cannot stress enough that this is a very important step. If you don't know what to expect in labor and birth, it is easy to fall into unnecessary interventions. These interventions EASILY lead to unnecessary c-sections.
Did you know that 1 in 3 U.S. women on average, undergo surgery to deliver their babies? There is something inherently wrong with this picture. There is a very clear progression from one medical intervention to the next, and until we educate ourselves, it will continue. We have the RIGHT to say no. All you have to do is decide that you want to be informed of your birth options.

Depending on the course you choose, you will learn much of the following . . . 

  • How to manage pain with various relaxation techniques. 
  • How to prepare for a natural labor and birth. 
  • Rehearse labor scenarios. 
  • Options for laboring positions. 
  • How to decide on, and write your birth plan. 
  • The importance of eating right, proper stretching and exercise.
  • How to avoid interventions and medications that lead to c-sections.
  • What to do postpartum. 
  • How to breastfeed.
  • How a birth coach/doula will support and advocate for you.
  • Best of all, you will be LEARNING YOUR OPTIONS. 

Every hospital offers a childbirth or prenatal class. They usually range from a 1 day seminar, to a 4 week course (1x/week). While this, in my opinion is not nearly enough . . . it should be the very minimum that you consider.

Hypnobirthing - consists of 5 classes, 2.5 hrs each (1x/wk)
Lamaze International - offers a 6 week course (1x/wk)
Birthing From Within - a weekend intensive, or 6 week course (1x/wk)
Birth Boot Camp - a 10 week course that also offers online options (1x/wk)
The Bradley Method - 12 week course, 2-3 hours/class

Personally, I opted for this 12 week Bradley Course. This was honestly one of the best things I could have done. I have heard great things about other birthing classes, I cannot imagine learning everything that I did, in 5-6 classes, let alone a one day course. There is NO WAY I would have felt prepared enough to have my natural labor and birth, without everything that I learned. 

While I have EXTREMELY supportive friends and family, I wanted to find a group a little more aligned with my "crunchiness" for some different types of support. This course brought some pretty amazing people into my life, some of them have become very dear friends. I met my Doula at this course, and this has led me to a path of becoming a Doula myself. 

I never stop learning, and I stay flexible. Of course I hold on to some non-negotiables, but all in all I am open to different views. 

I have just been accepted into the October 2013 Birth Boot Camp training course in Dallas TX, so I will be bringing back some big-time birth info to the Chicago Area!
. . . more to come . . . 

So before you allow yourself to be blindly led into procedures that you don't understand, given medications that you don't need, or feel that you have been backed into a corner . . . 
STOP, and take control of your birth.

Our bodies are designed to to this! 

There is a time and a place for medical intervention, but the only way to fully understand what that time and place looks like, is for you to educate yourself and to know your options. 

This may be "all-inclusive", but are there other options to consider?


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