For most of history, women were exposed to birth many times before they had their own baby. They would have seen the labors and births of their mothers, aunts, neighbors and friends—so when it came time, they were familiar with the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations. These days, most women don’t experience much about childbirth until they’re actually pregnant and contemplating giving birth themselves. That’s why childbirth education has become so common in the last 70 years—it’s our culture’s way of providing the “initiation” of previous generations.
Childbirth education classes are an important part of preparing for birth, for both mother and partner. Learning about the normal process of pregnancy and labor can do so much to help you feel more calm and ready. There are all sorts of classes you can take, from the standard ones at the hospital to more specific classes geared toward mindfulness, hypnosis, and more. Most classes are pretty similar overall: an explanation of the stages of labor and events in normal birth, as well as information about coping techniques and common hospital policies and interventions. Classes vary a lot regarding how they approach the idea of pain in labor and how to address it. Doulas of Las Vegas is proud to offer childbirth classes as part of our comprehensive services for families in the Las Vegas area. But we know that childbirth education is only part of the equation.
We believe that childbirth education is like an insurance policy for having a good birth—it helps you become familiar with what to expect, helps you understand your options and most importantly, increases your confidence. Classes are coverage in the form of confidence, preparation and understanding. But we emphasize that they’re not a guarantee.
Learning comfort measures and breathing techniques in class is awesome, but knowing these things doesn’t mean you’ll have a stress or pain-free labor and birth. Understanding common medical procedures and interventions used during birth is totally empowering, but it doesn’t exempt you from experiencing them. Classes can certainly teach your partner tips, tricks and techniques on how to support you, but they don’t make him or her a birthing expert. Childbirth education is an incredible tool but taking classes alone won’t get you the awesome birth you want. Birth is always unpredictable, even for the most type A planners, so the best thing you can take away from your birthing class is a sense of preparedness, along with some healthy flexibility.
We do, however, believe that one of biggest benefits of childbirth education is better communication. Classes can help you learn what you want and need from your labor and birth, and communicate that to your partner, friends, family, and birth team. Both before birth and on the actual day. This, combined with what you and your partner have learned about the process, comfort, and interventions, makes you solidly ready for your birth—no matter what happens.
There are plenty of options out there, so it's important to find what's right for you. Doulas of Las Vegas acknowledges that there are many different methods and mindsets that will help you birth the way you want. We want to help educate and guide you to make the choices that are best for you and your family.