Sunday, December 7, 2008

Childbirth Education

Recently I had a fascinating conversation with Bonnie about our lack of childbirth education/preparation. Bonnie realized that neither I nor Jai had mentioned taking a class and wondered why. When I said we didn't take one, Bonnie was really concerned which surprised both of us. She kept asking how will we know what to do, how to breathe, be prepared for each stage of labor, on & on ... very unlike Bonnie's usually laid-back persona. I was not fazed; slightly perplexed by Bonnie's reaction but not questioning our decision. However, Bonnie wanted me to ask the midwife about the situation. : )

Therefore the next day, I (who usually has a list of questions, but that week didn't have any) discussed this particular question with the midwife. Basically it is not required or necessary, depends on the needs of the couple. Do we need information about Labor & Delivery process, newborn care, breastfeeding? It seems like the potential for information over-load, a large time commitment (class is 2 hours once a week for 6-8 weeks) as well as a financial cost.

Information can ease/alleviate anxieties and provide coping skills, but it is not necessary to get them via an organized class. There are lots of other ways to access information now (books, DVD, internet) and the midwife speculated that it could be a generational issue that developed out of a need for women to feel more empowered 30-40 years ago. It also depends on the personality of the couple. Some people are private and don't enjoy group experiences or being with strangers and others like sharing experiences about pregnancy and parenting.

The midwife shared that many midwifery clients do not attend childbirth classes. One reason is the different kind of prenatal care/interaction than with a traditional OB/GYN. I definitely agree that I converse often with the midwife about all kinds of questions which have occurred throughout the pregnancy.

Both of us read alot of books - that is one of our favorite ways to get information. We also saw the DVD "Business of Being Born" and saw lots of babies being born in a variety of settings and situations. Jai reads more stuff on the internet, but I do read some web-based resources. This weekend we spent some time talking about the stages of labor and possible issues and concerns, as well as ways, Jai can support me. It was helpful, but an organized childbirth education program isn't for us. We'll see how it goes very soon!