Author Topic: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?  (Read 14334 times)

GuitarStv

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Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« on: August 07, 2013, 07:20:14 AM »
Inquiring minds want to know.

fiveoclockshadow

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 07:28:15 AM »
Well you won't get anything other than anecdotal evidence from the experiences of those here.

Alternatively there is this study:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1595113/

And Google will produce lots of news like this:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/12/the-end-of-childbirth-101/?_r=0

My anecdote?  Well, it didn't cost much, only took a day on the weekend and we were much more familiar with the hospital and procedures as a result.  That probably had a positive mental effect in comfort level.  Between all the book reading and OB visits already happening it was just one more somewhat helpful thing.  I don't know why one would specifically avoid it...

EDIT: I will add there is a trend afoot to formulate a "birth plan".  We've seen peers do this and it is nothing short of insane and somewhere near stupid.  There is no "plan" for child birth other than deciding on some starting points and preferences (e.g. start at home vs hospital, plan on epidural or try without, how long to go without C-section).  Those are sensible things to consider and a prenatal class may help with that.  However, many people seem to treat their delivery like a wedding, literally planning it out and then having an emotional reaction when it doesn't go as planned.  More likely than not it will not go as planned.  So if you find any sort of prenatal classes or consulting heading down the "delivery as a wedding" route run as fast as you can.  If instead the message is "be prepared for anything and be flexible" then you are probably getting sensible advice.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 07:33:42 AM by fiveoclockshadow »

savingtofreedom

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2013, 07:46:16 AM »
I was wondering this as well.  I was thinking about attempting to go the natural route - sans medicine - at the hospital  (if possible, I know things change which i don't have control over and I won't be devastated but I tend to have poor reactions to strong medicine).  Does taking a specific birthing method (Bradley, Hypnobabies are some I have read about) really help this process? 


GuitarStv

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2013, 07:53:52 AM »
lol .  .  . all I can think of when I hear about hypnobabies is this:


Rust

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2013, 08:05:37 AM »
For me as a new dad, I found value in attending a class that touched on what to expect during labor and also spent time on care for a newborn.

My wife knew what to do but I was clueless and I think it gave her comfort to know that I took the time and effort to learn more.

Would I been able to learn the same stuff online faster, sure.  Was it worth it?  Yes mostly because it was important to my wife. 

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2013, 08:09:20 AM »
I was wondering this as well.  I was thinking about attempting to go the natural route - sans medicine - at the hospital  (if possible, I know things change which i don't have control over and I won't be devastated but I tend to have poor reactions to strong medicine).  Does taking a specific birthing method (Bradley, Hypnobabies are some I have read about) really help this process?

I think this is the most important reason for a pre-natal class. If you're considering trying to go med-free, choosing a med-free method and going to their classes is going to really help you in that process. Those methods depend on practice, practice, practice -- and the classes are some of your time to practice (although you should also practice on your own). The sooner you can start one of those classes, the better IMO. I didn't even think about L&D until I was 35 weeks, and by then it was too late (I was in denial about how that baby was going to get born; I didn't want to think about it!)

My spouse and I went to a childbirth class. It was one day and covered by our insurance. I didn't learn anything new, although we got a tour of the hospital, but my spouse learned a lot. I think it's important to for the non-birthing spouse if s/he hasn't already read up on it themselves. You need your birthing partner to support you and it helps them to be prepared.

zhelud

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2013, 08:43:56 AM »
I found the "class" (really a half day seminar) that my hospital offered to be very, very helpful. A labor and delivery nurse explained the whole process to us- what is happening in your body, what the doctor will do and when, what options there are for pain relief, etc.  Much more info than there is on any website. She showed us some breathing techniques as well but if I had planned to go the unmedicated route I would have wanted a lot more instruction. 

DirtBoy

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2013, 09:55:00 AM »
My wife and I took a Bradley method course ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_method_of_natural_childbirth ) and a half day "parenting class" thing at the hospital.  We got a lot of value out of the Bradley course and as a husband it gave me something to do.  I'm not sure what the hypno-baby thing is about as hypnosis wasn't part of the course.

Even though our first birth didn't turn out how we wanted, the conditioning involved in the Bradley courses, I think, improved our outcome.  Our second birth was a VBAC and was the outcome we had hoped for in our first birth.  So, live and learn, roll with the punches, and all of that. 

I think that treating a birth like an athletic event is probably the general best approach.  Eat right, condition your body, and your mind.  Things will probably turn out well.  If they don't, being conditioned puts you light years ahead those that do not.  Birth is serious business, treat it as such and things will probably be ok.

Good luck to you.

theSchmett

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2013, 10:03:17 AM »
Dirtboy I think you've got the right idea. 

Being armed with information is totally, completely worth it.

We took Bradley classes, and then formulated the birth plan based on what we wanted to get out of the Bradley Method. 

And its got to be flexible.  Things may not go 100% as planned, not to say they will go off-the-rails or catastrophic, but things will come up.

Taking the classes showed me a lot of things to avoid, and it armed me (the husband/coach) with vocabulary and knowledge with which to be an advocate for my wife and child. The doctors will push you towards what they see as the most predictable route. It may not be the best. At some point the mother-to-be won't necessarily be able to advocate for herself or the child because she's in pain, so the husband/coach has got to be there and judge which way to go. Welcome to fatherhood.

Being armed with knowledge and vocab means that when the doc says you need pitocin (sp?) you KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, and don't have to have it explained mid-contraction. We didn't believe in every part of the Bradley Method as being for us, but we certainly learned a ton of things that were useful on the big day.

One thing the Bradley method seems to get right though? Diet. Look up the Bradley diet.

ASquared

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 10:06:07 AM »
I think it depends on what you are looking for.  If you are doing a hospital birth - prenatal classes are to teach you to be a patient rather than teach you much about birthing. 

If you are interested in natural birth I would highly recommend - very helpful for education, relaxing techniques, etc etc.    We did Bradley classes and were very satisfied.  Best 300 I have spent.  Not to mention that a natural birth is significantly less expensive....and a better option for you and your baby!

Look into options for a birth center

Christiana

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 10:11:44 AM »
A hospital-based class can tell you a lot about the hospital's routines, and how well they support natural childbirth.  But I'd look elsewhere for education about actually giving birth naturally, if that is what you are planning.  I personally didn't follow any particular method, but I read a great many natural birth stories, learned how other women managed, and built up a toolbox of coping strategies.  Then, when the time came, I used the ones that worked best for me.  I'd recommend doing this even if you plan to use pain medication, because you'll probably need to cope on your own for at least a little while.

To be clear, when I say "coping", I mean coping with fear as much as I do coping with pain.  For me, dealing with fear and uncertainty is the hardest work in labor.  The physical pain has been quite manageable each time; the hard part is in not knowing how long it's going to go on, or how much worse it's going to get.  Dr. Grantly Dick-Read many years ago said, "Fear leads to tension, and tension leads to pain."  Keeping yourself calm and centered can greatly reduce the pain of childbirth, because you're not fighting the process.

Make sure that you choose a birth attendant that is supportive of your preferences. 

Birth center births outside of hospitals and home births are becoming more and more common (all my children were born at home, attended by midwives). 

renbutler

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 10:20:31 AM »
I'll also add my anecdote:

It was worth it.

rollie

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2013, 10:37:01 AM »

I was planning to take a class, but by chance at 34 weeks, ta-da! My baby was born 6 weeks early. So, I literally had zero training except the stuff I had read on the internet. The baby was fine, and many things happened that I did not expect: she ended up in the NICU for 8 days, all my concerns were about whether she would live/be brain damaged, etc., and I found I didn't need any help at all in the operating room. In fact, by chance my doctor was on vacation (since of course I wasn't expected to deliver for another 6 weeks). So I didn't even recognize anyone in the hospital.

The most useful class I had was the one I was required to take in order to take my preemie home. Neo-natal CPR. This was great, and left me comfortable that I could save the life of my child and others.

Taking the class certainly won't hurt, I just found I didn't need it at all. Of course I agree with others in that if you are considering going hospital free and all-natural, a class is more appropriate.

N

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2013, 11:19:28 AM »
Yes.
Id recommend Bradley classes. they are comprehensive and also can introduce you to some other couples who will have babies around your baby's age. I know lots of people who have made close friends at their bradley classes.

If you are doing a hospital birth, they usually have a hospital orientation type of class. It might make you more comfortable if you do that as well.

I did hypnobirthing with my first pregnancy, which I liked, but after I found out about bradley, I wished Id done that. (I also am friends with a couple of great bradley instructors) but I also did a lot of reading on natural childbirth and can recommend anything by Ina May Gaskin and the Pregnancy Book by Dr and Martha Sears.

ThatGuyFromCanada

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2013, 11:38:15 AM »
We did one through our Health Region that was very much worth it. It was one night a week for 10 weeks, 5 before and 5 after the baby came. Not only did we get excellent information on birth and babies, but we also got a great support network during a time of incredible change and also a great set of new friends too! I would completely recommend it.

Myrmida

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2013, 03:05:38 PM »
I believe I took the same one as JourneyingJon, as I'm in the same health region.  It wasn't a complete waste of time, but a lot of it repeated what I already knew from books and common sense.  It did cover some things that most people don't think about, like having a plan to get rid of unwanted guests after the baby is born.

One thing I wish that I had shelled out for would be a lactation consultant/post-partum doula to help me establish breast-feeding after the baby was born.  Struggling with post-partum anxiety, figuring out how to care for a baby and trying to establish breastfeeding which can be quite painful and difficult, all while sleep-deprived and recovering from childbirth, was not fun!

Roses

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2013, 03:41:33 PM »
It was absolutely worth it for me.  I took a 5 week course (once a week for a couple of hours in the evening) and it helped me learn some great coping techniques (pain and fear).  I credit that class with giving me the strength to endure a very painful 36 hour labor and completely natural birth at home.  I think I might have given up and gone to the hospital otherwise.  So if you're planning a natural birth, I think it's really helpful - whether at home or the hospital.
 
If you are planning a hospital birth, being familiar with the procedure is important so you can make decisions easily and quickly as things come up.  Since you'll be in no mood to think about those things much at the time.  But I think one of the most important things for a hospital birth is a birth plan.  I see someone above mocked it but that is your way of communicating with your attendants what your preferences are.  They will push you as much as they can to keep your birth on the track they want.  So if you want to hold out a bit longer before Pitocin or if you really don't want an epidural, it's much easier to have them respect that if you've written it out rather than just arguing about it at the time.  Some people go as far as to put a sign above their bed that says 'don't offer me drugs'!  Personally, I didn't have a birth plan because my doula and midwives were totally in synch with me.  But I have attended other births in my family where it was really helpful at the hospital.  Of course that doesn't mean you should be married to it.  You do have to roll with the punches when things come up. 

Lastly I think a great midwife wonderful to have at the hospital as she can be an important advocate for you.

DirtBoy

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2013, 04:18:46 PM »
One thing I wish that I had shelled out for would be a lactation consultant/post-partum doula to help me establish breast-feeding after the baby was born.  Struggling with post-partum anxiety, figuring out how to care for a baby and trying to establish breastfeeding which can be quite painful and difficult, all while sleep-deprived and recovering from childbirth, was not fun!

My wife and I made it through this just the two of us.  It was not easy.  Especially getting started with breastfeeding.  You need to start ASAP and keep pushing.  For the first few days with our first child it was a real nail biter trying to get maximum milk flow.  Mom is tired, sore, dehydrated, and (sadly) medicated from surgery.  It took a lot of will power and tenacity to fight an uphill battle, but baby and mom won.

caligulala

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2013, 04:28:30 PM »
We took a Bradley class as well. I found it kind of repetitive, but my husband felt like he got a lot out of it. My favorite night was the one I played hookie from birth class.

We did meet our best parent friends in the class, so the $300 was worth it since we didn't know a soul with kids prior to the class.

Freedom2016

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #19 on: August 07, 2013, 06:44:15 PM »
Very much worth it. We took a natural childbirth class and learned lots of stuff not in the books, perhaps most importantly practice with techniques to help me through contractions. That was helpful because we got an idea ahead-of-time the kinds of things that I was going to like...and hate. (i.e. "Don't even think of touching me like that during a real contraction! But this other thing is good.")

We also learned how medications work, how/whether/when they help, and what other interventions they tend to lead to. Totally reinforced, for me, that I wanted to try for a med-free birth. (Which I was able to have, thankfully.)

We didn't get crazy with a birth plan but did lay out some general preferences for our midwife practice.

I would also second getting help from a lactation consultant, paying for it if necessary. The hospital where I gave birth had them on staff and they visited me (free) once or twice a day while we were there. They also had free weekly sessions with lactation consultants, which I took advantage of a couple of times when my son was 2-3 months old.

Congratulations! Kids are awesome. Or, at least, we're enjoying our kid very much. :)

CupcakeStache

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2013, 08:18:41 PM »

I was planning to take a class, but by chance at 34 weeks, ta-da! My baby was born 6 weeks early. So, I literally had zero training except the stuff I had read on the internet.

haha, this is exactly what happened to me too. My son was mostly healthy, and is completely healthy now, but because he was so early he didn't have much of a suck reflex when he was born. Breastfeeding was a nightmare and he wasn't able to do it for weeks, so I had to pump, and I hated it.

"Natural" childbirth wasn't much of an option for me, because my pregnancy was high-risk due to issues with blot clots. I didn't have a birth plan that was anything more than "I want the baby and I to make it through this as smoothly as possible." I did not enjoy being hooked up to a bunch of machines and an IV while in labor. But once my son was born I forgot all of that. :)

So in hindsight, the one thing I really wish I had done is learn more about breastfeeding and at least have contact information for lactation consultants ahead of time. The hospital did arrange for me to meet with one a few times, but I wish I had had someone with more knowledge to lean on more frequently.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 08:20:55 PM by CupcakeStache »

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2013, 09:22:02 PM »
I was wondering this as well.  I was thinking about attempting to go the natural route - sans medicine - at the hospital  (if possible, I know things change which i don't have control over and I won't be devastated but I tend to have poor reactions to strong medicine).  Does taking a specific birthing method (Bradley, Hypnobabies are some I have read about) really help this process?

Find a good doula!!!  I've gone natural with and without a labor coach. If you have a great doula, the whole experience is so much better for mom, dad, and baby! 

N

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2013, 09:33:54 PM »
+1 on the doula, too.
Interview a few or get recs if you can.

TheDude

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2013, 09:36:04 PM »
Wow I love this thread. I espically love the few premmie parents. I find myself being a little nervous as my \wife is 39week preggo right now. Our first son came at 32weeks and 4days. He spent 28days in the NICU and it was not what we expected. I kind of have no idea what to expect this time. We didnt think we would make it this far so we didnt take any classes. Oh well I am sure we will have this baby.

gooki

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #24 on: August 08, 2013, 01:02:49 AM »
For me as a new dad, I found value in attending a class that touched on what to expect during labor and also spent time on care for a newborn.

My wife knew what to do but I was clueless and I think it gave her comfort to know that I took the time and effort to learn more.

Would I been able to learn the same stuff online faster, sure.  Was it worth it?  Yes mostly because it was important to my wife.

This. And the fact they are free in my country.

cerberusss

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #25 on: August 08, 2013, 01:52:15 AM »
I'm taking post-natal classes elsewhere on the forum now :D

Kidding aside, I took a pre-natal class for men only. Very educational, and very funny too. I also joined the girlfriend on a couples pre-natal seminar, but they left out a LOT of information.

For example, in the men-only class, we discussed chances on miscarriage, ruptures, incisions and all the stuff that can go wrong. It wasn't discussed in the pre-natal seminar for couples, because they don't want to worry/stress out the women. Personally, I feel a lot better knowing realistically what can go wrong, and what to decide. We even exercised playing the role of the midwife in case of a premature birth. There was a doll with a baby inside, with which the trained showed how the baby moves through the birth canal.

There were lots of times pre-birth, where my girlfriend would start worrying about something, and I'd be able to reply "well, it could happen but that's really uncommon honey". So -- very good stuff.

ace1224

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2013, 05:34:49 AM »
meh, i kinda thought it was pointless and stopped going after two of them.  i feel a lot of it was common sense, or stuff you could find out yourself if you really wanted to.
i actually did like zero research bc i was 21 and full of myself and though "how fucking difficult can this be, that's why they have doctors there"  i was in labor for 4 hours and pushed for 20 minutes and had zero complications.  it was totally fine and i have no complaints whatsoever about my delivery.
the classes were a bit too touchy feely your body is a temple blah blah blah for me.

of course everyone else seems to have really liked them.  i tend to be more of a fly by the seat of your pants person anyways and rarely do any research on anything ahead of time, i don't like to know what is going to happen then i obsess about it, its much better for me if i go in with no expectations and it happens. 

kdms

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #27 on: August 08, 2013, 05:57:14 AM »
Obviously they were helpful for a lot of people here but I'm in ace1224's camp....stopped going after the first class for pretty much the same reasons, except that I research everything ahead of time and when they couldn't answer any of my questions during the first class (or wouldn't) because they were a lot more technical than the information they had to give, it just clinched it that DH was really going to have to be on his toes in the delivery room.  Of course, with him being a paramedic, it was easier - the staff deferred to him and I just trusted him to make the calls during the actual event.

I haven't come across a lot of people who didn't learn from them, though, so they would seem to be a good idea depending on your learning style and knowledge level.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #28 on: August 08, 2013, 08:59:12 AM »
I was wondering this as well.  I was thinking about attempting to go the natural route - sans medicine - at the hospital  (if possible, I know things change which i don't have control over and I won't be devastated but I tend to have poor reactions to strong medicine).  Does taking a specific birthing method (Bradley, Hypnobabies are some I have read about) really help this process?

Find a good doula!!!  I've gone natural with and without a labor coach. If you have a great doula, the whole experience is so much better for mom, dad, and baby!

+2  We hired a doula and I think it was one of two major reasons why we didn't have a last-minute c-section during our son's difficult birth (the other reason being my awesome dr., who had great skills and knew I really didn't want that -- which was also in part due to my doula advocating for my interests).

meadow lark

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #29 on: August 08, 2013, 09:59:28 AM »
I'm an L&D nurse, and while I haven't given birth (adopted my kiddo) I have been present at literally thousands of births.  I think prenatal classes are a good idea, and love doulas.  I also agree 100% that some people do think of births like weddings.  And it's bizarre, and setting yourself up to become a bridezilla.  I love hypnobirthing.  Of the methods I have seen, it seems the most useful.  The feminist in me wants to gag when I see the Bradley method.  Father directed childbirth?  I am supposed to ask the dad if The mom wants pain meds?  And ignore her when she is screaming, asking for them?  I always tell my natural patients, I will ignore you if you ask for pain meds in the middle of a contraction, but if you ask again, when you are not having a contraction I will pay attention.   I am supposed to talk to the Dad not the Mom?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Wrong century, wrong continent.  I have had a Dad pull out his Bradley book to "look for other options" when told we needed to do an emergency c-section. 
  Birth is super political.  And I am a very crunchy granola girl.  It just makes me crazy when people come to the hospital and want a home birth.  I think home births are great.  Probably would choose that myself.  But if you decide to have a hospital birth, people need to realize the hospital has taken the legal responsibility of guaranteeing your safety.  That means we have to monitor according to certain established guidelines, and we have ways of doing things, often for a very good reason.  I think it is very reasonable to talk to your MD or CNM ahead of time, ask them their c/s and episiotomy statistics, etc, but it's too late during labor.
  And birth plans...  They make sense to me, but everyplace I have worked we all give report with the same comment, "she has a birth plan.  Better pull the c-section paperwork."  I don't know why, haven't seen any studies, but anecdotally the fastest way to an emergency is being too focused on how everything has to work.  Everyone's goal has got to be "healthy baby, healthy mom." 
  Sorry, guess I should have started my own thread to rant with.  Oh, one more thing, if anyone walks out of the hospital with a healthy baby, and no complications and your first comment is to complain you had to get stuck 3 times for the IV, well you are an ungrateful idiot.
Edited to add: ungrateful to God/life/nature/whatever.  And yes, I have seen this multiple times.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 10:06:05 AM by Meadow Lark »

BZB

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2013, 12:10:20 PM »
I found a doula and lactation consultant more useful than the hospital childbirth class. My doula taught a 1/2 day childbirth class that actually showed you how to push, which was very helpful (this was not discussed in the hospital class). (I paid about $400 for doula service, and lactation consultant during hospital stay was paid by insurance)

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #31 on: August 08, 2013, 01:12:06 PM »
I'm an L&D nurse, and while I haven't given birth (adopted my kiddo) I have been present at literally thousands of births.  I think prenatal classes are a good idea, and love doulas.  I also agree 100% that some people do think of births like weddings.  And it's bizarre, and setting yourself up to become a bridezilla.  I love hypnobirthing.  Of the methods I have seen, it seems the most useful.  The feminist in me wants to gag when I see the Bradley method.  Father directed childbirth?  I am supposed to ask the dad if The mom wants pain meds?  And ignore her when she is screaming, asking for them?  I always tell my natural patients, I will ignore you if you ask for pain meds in the middle of a contraction, but if you ask again, when you are not having a contraction I will pay attention.   I am supposed to talk to the Dad not the Mom?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Wrong century, wrong continent.  I have had a Dad pull out his Bradley book to "look for other options" when told we needed to do an emergency c-section. 


Your post made me LOL! And I had no idea that the Bradley Method works like that. I wonder who they would have asked when my spouse had his face in his hands because he couldn't handle the stress?!

bonjourliz

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #32 on: August 08, 2013, 01:17:39 PM »
I totally agree on the doula- I didn't have one for my first, but did for my second.  I will never give birth without one again.  My husband tells every newly pregnant couple he meets that they should get a doula.

As for a class, some are worth it and some are not. Generally, an independent class will be more useful (esp for natural birth) than a hospital-based class.  I would start by researching local doulas; they should have good recommendations for classes in your area.

There are lots of things you can do to educate yourself, too.  The Business of Being Born (a film, actually a series now) is an easy place to start.  The Thinking Woman's Guide to Better Birth is a great resource, and the author, Henci Goer, now writes a column on lamaze's website.  Lamaze's website, overall, has some really good information.  Ina May Gaskin's books are wonderfully inspiring.  Pregnancy, Childbirth & the Newborn is another good book.   

I used the hypnobabies home study for my second pregnancy, and I highly recommend it.  I didn't use it the way the program intends... I wasn't religious about listening to the tracks on their schedule, etc... but it was really helpful nonetheless.  It got my head into a positive space, and this made for a great pregnancy & labor.   

savingtofreedom

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #33 on: August 08, 2013, 01:43:01 PM »
I'm an L&D nurse, and while I haven't given birth (adopted my kiddo) I have been present at literally thousands of births.  I think prenatal classes are a good idea, and love doulas.  I also agree 100% that some people do think of births like weddings.  And it's bizarre, and setting yourself up to become a bridezilla.  I love hypnobirthing.  Of the methods I have seen, it seems the most useful.  The feminist in me wants to gag when I see the Bradley method.  Father directed childbirth?  I am supposed to ask the dad if The mom wants pain meds?  And ignore her when she is screaming, asking for them?  I always tell my natural patients, I will ignore you if you ask for pain meds in the middle of a contraction, but if you ask again, when you are not having a contraction I will pay attention.   I am supposed to talk to the Dad not the Mom?  Are you fucking kidding me?  Wrong century, wrong continent.  I have had a Dad pull out his Bradley book to "look for other options" when told we needed to do an emergency c-section. 
  Birth is super political.  And I am a very crunchy granola girl.  It just makes me crazy when people come to the hospital and want a home birth.  I think home births are great.  Probably would choose that myself.  But if you decide to have a hospital birth, people need to realize the hospital has taken the legal responsibility of guaranteeing your safety.  That means we have to monitor according to certain established guidelines, and we have ways of doing things, often for a very good reason.  I think it is very reasonable to talk to your MD or CNM ahead of time, ask them their c/s and episiotomy statistics, etc, but it's too late during labor.
  And birth plans...  They make sense to me, but everyplace I have worked we all give report with the same comment, "she has a birth plan.  Better pull the c-section paperwork."  I don't know why, haven't seen any studies, but anecdotally the fastest way to an emergency is being too focused on how everything has to work.  Everyone's goal has got to be "healthy baby, healthy mom." 
  Sorry, guess I should have started my own thread to rant with.  Oh, one more thing, if anyone walks out of the hospital with a healthy baby, and no complications and your first comment is to complain you had to get stuck 3 times for the IV, well you are an ungrateful idiot.
Edited to add: ungrateful to God/life/nature/whatever.  And yes, I have seen this multiple times.

MeadowLark - thanks for your feedback.  As an L&D nurse I could appreciate that this could be a frustrating experience from your perspective.  I am currently scheduled to have a hospital birth - is it reasonable to try to deliver without use of epidural and/or pitocin (I know things may change if I need to be induced) but is that a ridiculous expectation?  A home birth is not an option.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #34 on: August 09, 2013, 08:09:12 AM »

MeadowLark - thanks for your feedback.  As an L&D nurse I could appreciate that this could be a frustrating experience from your perspective.  I am currently scheduled to have a hospital birth - is it reasonable to try to deliver without use of epidural and/or pitocin (I know things may change if I need to be induced) but is that a ridiculous expectation?  A home birth is not an option.

I realize that you didn't ask me, but I don't think that's a ridiculous expectation, as long as you're prepared. A friend of mine gave birth in a hospital with no medications, using the Hypnobabies method. She had been planning on L&D at a birth center, but there were some complications so she went to the hospital and did it there -- med-free!

teen persuasion

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #35 on: August 09, 2013, 10:47:04 AM »

MeadowLark - thanks for your feedback.  As an L&D nurse I could appreciate that this could be a frustrating experience from your perspective.  I am currently scheduled to have a hospital birth - is it reasonable to try to deliver without use of epidural and/or pitocin (I know things may change if I need to be induced) but is that a ridiculous expectation?  A home birth is not an option.

I realize that you didn't ask me, but I don't think that's a ridiculous expectation, as long as you're prepared. A friend of mine gave birth in a hospital with no medications, using the Hypnobabies method. She had been planning on L&D at a birth center, but there were some complications so she went to the hospital and did it there -- med-free!

I had to chime in here, too.

I'm a mom of 5, and I've never had an epidural.  My first 2 were completely drug free, #3 was an emergency c-section under full-sedation, and #4 & #5 were VBACs (those 2 I did have pitocin, and I'm still on the fence if it was a good idea).  Every birth is different!  Everyone's pain tolerance is different.  I chose to try it med free before trying other things, and it was fine.  When I was talked into trying some meds (not epidural, more to take the edge off, I think was the way it was described) in the middle of labor, I had my first 2 deliveries to compare to, and found that they didn't really help ME at all.  Others may be different.  I just prefer to be in focus and in control.

I think that the way my mother gave birth was silly.  At the time it was the norm, probably since most doctors were male!  You were awake and unmedicated thru labor, then they wheeled you into delivery, and knocked you out for delivery.  Um, labor is the worse part (at least to me); delivery meant getting it over with, and I could actively do something.  I can't figure how well an unconscious mother pushes.

EMP

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #36 on: August 09, 2013, 10:51:04 AM »
We did one through our Health Region that was very much worth it. It was one night a week for 10 weeks, 5 before and 5 after the baby came. Not only did we get excellent information on birth and babies, but we also got a great support network during a time of incredible change and also a great set of new friends too! I would completely recommend it.

I wish we would have taken one just to meet some more new parents.  The social aspect of having a baby has been a real eye opener for me.

oldtoyota

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #37 on: August 09, 2013, 10:52:44 AM »
Depends.

Hospital courses will tell you how the hospital likes to do things. It "educates" you into being a good and easy patient.

You could take Hypnobirthing and learn how to self-hypnotize/distract from the pain and have an easier time of it.

I have heard people speak highly of the Bradley classes.

You could take courses about nutrition or baby CPR or any number of topics.

I took a yoga course (loved it) and hypnobirthing (very useful except I was so relaxed people did not realize I was having a baby).

So, it's hard to say without more details.


oldtoyota

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #38 on: August 09, 2013, 10:53:31 AM »
I was wondering this as well.  I was thinking about attempting to go the natural route - sans medicine - at the hospital  (if possible, I know things change which i don't have control over and I won't be devastated but I tend to have poor reactions to strong medicine).  Does taking a specific birthing method (Bradley, Hypnobabies are some I have read about) really help this process?

Yes. Also, learn the basics of delivering a baby at home just in case it happens.

meadow lark

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #39 on: August 09, 2013, 11:00:24 AM »
Absolutely, if you want a natural birth without pain meds or pitocin, do it!  I love being present for natural births.  Absolutely do-able, women have been doing this without meds for as long as there have been humans.  I think things usually go better if you've read and educated yourself ahead of time.  Don't rely on the fact that you "have a high pain tolerance."  I hear that phrase all of the time.  Unless we've been shot, stabbed or tortured most people don't have a clue what our pain tolerance is.  It is harder when you are in a hospital, and you know relief is available if you ask for it...  Also, there is a huge difference in a labor that is 8 hours, and a labor that is 36 hours.  Pain tolerance changes - exhaustion, constant vomiting fpr 12 hours because of the pain, having the flu - that is miserable.  Yes, women do labor while they have the stomach flu.  All those can make pain control look pretty tempting.
  As far as pitocin, avoid it if you can, but if it is pitocin versus a c-section for failure to progress, or getting a uterine infection because your bag has been broken too long, or a million other reasons...  Roll with it.  I would prefer not to have it, but it is often used because not using it is worse.  (Like every medication.)
  One thing to remember - the nurses and midwives and doctors are there, for the most part, because we love birth!  I love my patients.  I see my job as #1 keeping everyone safe and #2 helping the parents come out of the experience feeling like they are good parents.  Strong, competent, loving parents.  I think if everyone feels they did a good job, bonding is easier, breastfeeding is easier, life is better.  So that is what I strive for.  Sometimes in the politics of it staff are painted as the bad guys - trying to keep people from having a happy birth.  Why would any of us choose this job if that were true? 
  One wonderful change that has come out in the last few years is all the skin to skin bonding we do.  My hospital's goal is the first hour of life skin to skin with mom.  This is becoming a nationwide standard. 
  I am not an apologist for hospitals - the list of what I think we currently and historically have done wrong is long!  And I am all for activism around making the birthing business better for moms, babies and families.  But when you are actually in the midst of labor I think it is most helpful to realize we are all doing the best we can in a system we didn't create.  We have a culture that created a legal system which in turn created a hospital system.  If I can lose everything if something goes wrong because I didn't continuously monitor your baby, or you didn't have IV access, I am not the bad guy for trying to continuously monitor your baby, etc! 

savingtofreedom

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2013, 07:55:50 AM »
thanks for all the feedback!!! super helpful! I think I need to really look into getting a doula  - too bad it is all out of pocket.

Myrmida

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #41 on: August 10, 2013, 05:08:43 PM »
I'm in Canada.  I claimed my doula (and a breastpump) as a deductible medical expense on my taxes.  I didn't get all the money back, but it was better than nothing.  I don't know where you live, but it's something you might want to look into.

homeymomma

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #42 on: August 12, 2013, 09:54:44 AM »
I myself am a post-partum nurse with doula experience as well. My husband and I still took a class together to get him on the same page with techniques he could use and to have him feel more knowledgeable and in control (so he didn't have to keep asking me questions!!!). In the end, it didn't end up making much difference because I was preeclamptic and had to have a bunch of interventions anyway. Oh well.
We did happen to learn through the class that our insurance provider didn't cover our hearing screen, so that info saved us about $700.

In the end I'd say it was worth it for my husband to feel more confident. I love him, but he tends to do all the wrong things when he feels a lack of control. Giving him concrete things to do brought him calm, which in turn helped me calm down.

However, if you're really stretched in your budget - it's not a must. I'd put more energy into researching the stages of labor and what to expect from the laboring woman - also never be afraid to ask questions of your nurses or HCP. They should be very willing to share what they know - the more you can do, the less they have to! :)

Good luck with your new addition! Happy birthing!

MountainFlower

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #43 on: August 12, 2013, 01:44:43 PM »
I had no desire to go to birthing classes, so I got a DVD instead.  It was helpful, very helpful, and  I got to stay home.  Our hospital birthing classes were offered for an hour a night for 6 weeks or something.  Totally inconvenient for us and expensive. 

I ended up with a c-section due to the cord being wrapped around DD's neck. 


liquidbanana

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Re: Pre-natal classes . . . worth it or a waste of time?
« Reply #44 on: August 12, 2013, 10:20:40 PM »
I agree with those who say go with a doula. I was too cheap for one, and it was my biggest regret. However, I was having a perfectly awesome pregnancy and planning a home birth and then had to have an emergency induction turned c-section due to HELLP syndrome at 38 weeks.

I would not rely on myself or husband/partner to be able to keep it all together and make the most sane decisions if complications like that come up. I know it didn't turn out too well for me. A doula would have been an advocate that would have kept things going fairly smoothly. For some perspective, I was in the emergency room for over 24 hours before the OB GYN saw me because he was out of town. That added to my complications significantly. But I was out of it and my husband had no clue what was going on and didn't insist that they get a doctor in there to see me asap.

All kinds of crazy, unorganized things go on in hospitals (I was in one for three months, so I have a good idea). You have to have someone on their toes watching out for you.