You wouldn’t dream of running a marathon without training first. Such an intense athletic event requires mental, physical and emotional preparation. The same is true for childbirth: Knowing what can happen during labor and delivery—and your options for pain relief—can alleviate your fears and boost your confidence. “Knowledge is power,” says Sheri Bayles, R.N., a certified Lamaze instructor who taught childbirth classes at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City for more than 20 years.
Kristen emailed, asking: When should I start childbirth classes? What kind and how do I find them? Darn good questions, Kristen. The quantity of classes, techniques, theories, and books about how to birth a baby are intense. No doubt, you've got a friend or sister who's all about one particular brand of childbirth or maybe you're thinking an epidural starting about now is a good plan. Maybe you've hit the Internet and been deluged with info touting the merits of one breathing technique over another and warning about the perils of uneducated childbirth. Back to our history lesson.
It’s inevitable: Sometime during pregnancy, you realize (with panic! with dread!) that the living, growing being inside you will have to come out. Not with a dainty parting of curtains or a gentle opening of doors, but with hard work, pushing and sweat: with labor. You realize that you need assistance, not of the “let me fetch you some iced tea” variety, but some serious, get-down-on-your-haunches help.