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In today’s maternity care system, the care you receive may not always be based on current evidence, but may instead rely on outdated and potentially harmful practices. Unless you’re informed, you could miss out on options that can actually increase your chance of a safe and healthy birth.
Having a baby is one of life’s greatest gifts, and the ability to create, nurture and eventually birth a brand new human being is nothing short of a miracle. Yet, when many women think about the actual process of giving birth, fear of pain (and how to avoid it) is at the forefront of their minds. Something as simple as the term labor can feed into the fear. Language is a powerful thing, and the very definition of labor is “physical or mental work, especially of a hard or fatiguing kind; toil.”
Here you are reading an advice blog about how to have a baby and the best piece of advice I can give you is to disregard every bit of advice you get. That’s because anything I tell you today, someone else will contradict in her blog, and stuff someone else writes in her book will be the polar opposite of stuff I recommend in mine.
Elena wrote that she’s committed to having a 100 percent natural childbirth because she’s concerned about the effect of pain management interventions on her baby’s health and her ability to deliver vaginally. She’s 100 percent clueless, however on how to achieve that goal. Elena, you’ve made the first step in reaching your goal by seeking out information because when it comes to having the birth you want, information is the key.
One of the biggest arguments made for moms or couples who don’t attend childbirth classes is “I/we don’t have time.” And in today’s over-scheduled, over-committed and over-worked life, it’s true that many (often too many) things compete for your time.
One very special reader I’ll call Katherine, is expecting her first baby this fall. She’s creative, energetic and super smart. She has an eye for detail, a keen sense of style and just the teensiest tendency towards anxiety. She knows a lot about childbirth, has taken classes, studied everything Fit Pregnancy has to offer including everything I’ve written in the last few years.
You may be surprised to discover the variations in childbirth classes—some are months long while others last a day; some take place in a hospital and others are conducted in the educator’s home.
You may be planning a natural birth, but there are times when your health-care provider must intervene for health and safety reasons. Or you may find that standard hospital practices often include medical interventions. In either situation, it’s important that you be involved in the decisions related to your care. You can do that by asking questions and openly communicating your desires to everyone in attendance.
Fewer women are seeking childbirth info, according to a survey of more than 1,300 first-time moms.
Less than 30 percent attended birthing classes; many didn't know the risks of common procedures and were willing to let the doctor or midwife decide on such options as epidurals and Cesarean sections, according to the study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada.
How important is prenatal education for getting good quality patient care? An article published in The Los Angeles Times about a study conducted by The Child & Family Research Institute and University of British Columbia says fewer than 30 percent of first time mothers are attending prenatal childbirth education classes. Instead most women either did their research online, through books or didn’t do any research at all.
Once you’ve decided on a type of childbirth class, how do you pick a teacher? “Find an instructor whose agenda is yours, not her own,” advises Lisa Gould Rubin, a childbirth educator, doula and co-author of 2005’s The Birth That’s Right for You. Ask these questions before you sign up:
The Lamaze approach to childbirth prep— with its “hee-hee-hoo-hoo” breathing technique made familiar (and made fun of) in countless movies and TV shows— was a breath of fresh air for the 1960s and ’70s natural childbirth movement. Today, an estimated 80 percent of American women receive epidurals during labor. So is breath training still relevant? Absolutely.
We can’t Google our way through childbirth (yet), but we can study it online. Childbirth education covers anatomy, the birth process and pain management, and many people consider traditional classes, taken with other couples, a valuable pregnancy ritual. Others find them inconvenient and intimidating, preferring online courses. Here’s a snapshot: