By : Dani Reed
If you were buying a car or home, getting married, or considering a new career, you would most likely do a good deal of research, to make sure your important decisions are wise and your information is accurate. The birth of a baby is one of the most important and monumental experiences a person can have. As such, it is deserving of at least as much study and preparation. In the excitement of adding a new person to their family, many parents often overlook the birth itself, only realizing in the final weeks of pregnancy (or at the start of labor!) that they don’t know what to expect or what to do.
Birth is one of the most natural things the human body can do. However, that doesn’t mean that it is always easy or that you will instinctively know what to do. While listening to your body is a must, learning all you can about your options, and different methods for relaxation and labor techniques can enable you to have a truly empowering birth.
A quick internet search illuminates so many different birthing methods and courses that it is easy to become overwhelmed. How do you narrow it down? What class is best for you? Follow these easy steps to help you discover your best fit for childbirth education:
- Learn about different birthing methods. By understanding the different options available to you, you may find that you gravitate more toward a certain one or another. Whether you like the sound of an epidural or going med-free, using hypnosis or a tub, a C-section or induction, read about each kind of birth, and listen to your instincts. No one way is right for everyone, and birth is as individual as the amazing people who do it!
- Decide what is important for you to learn. Some classes cover more information than others. There is a wide array of options, from weekend crash-courses, to 12 week comprehensive classes, and everything in between. Depending on how much depth you want and how much time you are willing to invest may determine what kind of class is right for you.
- How much are you willing to spend? The cost of childbirth education ranges all over the map. Some few hospitals offer free classes that go over some of the very basic procedures they offer. Many doulas offer courses that are more customized to fit your needs. Many educators accept payment plans, and some even accept HSA or FSA cards, if you have them. When in doubt about your financial options, ask!
- Conduct a class search. While a quick post on social media may yield some first-hand experiences from friends and acquaintances, there are databases specifically for birth workers you can search that will yield far more specific results. Two great resources are the UDA Community Partners search and Doulamatch.net. You can also ask for referrals on your local social media page, such as the Utah Birth Forum.
- Contact potential educators. A peruse through their website may be enough to answer your questions, but sometimes it is beneficial to converse with a candidate over chat or a phone call to see if you connect well, and to gain a better understanding of their approach and personality. In some cases, you may even want to meet in person for a consultation, though not many educators routinely do this.
- Attend a class. Once your ideal class has been selected, go all in. Bring a list of questions, be willing to participate, and soak up as much as you can. After you have finished the course, be sure to practice what you have learned, to keep it fresh in your mind. Be sure to follow up with your educator if you have any questions. Take it from me: educators love questions.
- Share the wealth. After you give birth like the rock star you are, be sure to refer others to your class, so they can learn and have a positive experience as well!
With so many options to choose from, there is bound to be a great option for you! Knowledge is power, and taking responsibility for your care, and learning all you can about birth can prepare your mind and body to have a truly wonderful experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life. Happy birthing!
Dani Reed is a professional doula and childbirth educator, serving Utah county and Salt Lake County. A mother of four, she is has a passion and drive for all things pregnancy, birth and parenting, and has been studying these things and their importance for over a decade. She plans to return to school when her kids are older to complete her nursing degree and become a Certified Nurse Midwife.
You can learn more about her and her services on mindovermaternity.net