Comfort Measures in Labor: Childbirth Education
It is quite possible that the most important thing you can do to comfort yourself in labor is to have an idea of what is going to happen. The best way to learn about what to expect in labor and birth is to attend a childbirth education class.
There are many, many childbirth education classes available today. Some focus on natural birth while others try to give a balanced view of all birth options. Almost all hospitals offer childbirth education class as part of birthing in their facility. I recommend all parents that plan to birth in a hospital take the hospital’s birth class in addition to another class that offers them more education in the particular type of birth they have planned. This will give the parents an idea of what the hospital’s protocols are and give them the chance to ask more in-depth questions that may help them prepare for what they can expect at their local hospital.
Childbirth education class typically covers both the anatomy and physiology of birth. This can be particularly helpful to those more scientific minded who are comforted in knowing the biological processes that are happening in birth. They also explain the exams, interventions, and medications that may be encountered in the birth process. This often clears up any misunderstandings and bad information as to the reasons, risks, and benefits of certain processes and procedures. Comfort measures from the pharmacological to the non-medical are often described and practiced in class. Practicing non-pharmacological comfort measures like different positions, massage, breathing, eye contact, etc helps you to prepare for the big day and helps you bond as a couple before the birth. Childbirth education also covers newborn procedures and postpartum care and can help you connect with local resources. They will cover possible complications and address what to do when things don’t go the way you plan them. This group setting will also give you the opportunity hear others ask questions that you may not thought about and understand other’s perspectives on childbirth, family, fears, and excitement.
Another benefit to attending a childbirth education class is building a community of other parents in the same stage of life as yourself. You will form friendships with people that you may have never met otherwise and you my keep in contact with them as you all step into this new stage of life. You will be able to encourage each other and walk with each other along the adventure of raising children.
Many insurance providers cover or reimburse for childbirth education class so make sure you check with your insurance plan as to the specifics.
Childbirth education class helps to boost your confidence and prepare you for what to expect, how to handle situations if things do not go according to plan, and build a supportive community of people in the same stage of life. I highly recommend doing some research and finding the childbirth education class that best fits your philosophy of birth and that you feel will most benefit your family.