Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Childbirth Class: A First-Time Parent Requirement

Last weekend, my husband and I went to a six-hour childbirth class at the hospital where our little one will enter this world.  I had heard that the class was not particularly useful, but we figured that as first-time parents, taking a childbirth class was something that we should do.  

Pregnant belly

The class was taught by one of the labor and delivery nurses at the hospital, so it was nice to meet someone who we might interact with again.  But, honestly, it was pretty much like a 6 hour college course lecture, complete with slides.  The class outlined signs of labor, the stages of labor, breastfeeding, etc.  While it was good information, I'm not sure that there was anything that wasn't in the books like What to Expect.  The unique thing about the information was that there were informational videos included.  The video clips followed a few couples through the entire childbirth process.  I never ever want to be filmed for something like that.  There is no reason for anyone extra to see my lady parts.  I was reminded of watching the birth video freshman year of high school.  It was nearly as traumatic this time as it was almost a decade ago.  There were some other videos that were essentially dramatized animations of various processes.  The breastfeeding one truly was just hysterical looking, though I think my hubby and I were the only ones that even chuckled.  I'm not sure how that's possible.  It was just funny.  

The best part of the class was the 20 minute video at the very end on the 5 S's of soothing a crying child.  
  1. Swaddling
  2. Side/stomach
  3. Shushing
  4. Swinging
  5. Sucking
I'm not sure I totally buy all five of the S's (like giving the baby a pacifier whenever they cry), but overall it was a great video that told us more information that we didn't know than any other part of the class.  (I just Googled the technique and found some rather controversial points against it, but we'll see what works for our little guy.)

The tour of the hospital was also great, just so that we aren't surprised by anything when we arrive.  I did confirm that I can wear my own nightgown, so I'm pretty excited to not be forced into a hospital gown (gross!).  The rooms are quite nice, though I've heard of some hospitals that have queen beds in the post-delivery rooms, and I'd love for that to be a perk.  But it's not.  Oh well!  I'm also hoping that when we go in, one of the two whirlpool rooms will be available.  

The one thing that really made me think was the section about pain management.  I'm admittedly a wimp and had planned on an epidural.  And I mean, I was sure that I wanted one.  But after hearing more about it, getting the nurse's personal stories about pain management, and seeing the animation of the epidural going into the spine, I'm not sure anymore.  I hate pain, but I also hate needles.  Plus, there's the downside of not really getting the urge to push feeling as strongly, which seems like it might extend labor beyond what's necessary.  Now, I'm going with the "I"ll see what I feel like" plan.  

At this point, I feel like we can cross the childbirth class thing off the list, but I'm wondering if I'm missing something important since the class didn't seem as useful as I had hoped.  I wish I had really asked the questions, "Should we go to childbirth class?"  "Is childbirth class worth it?".  I believe the answers, at least for us, were no and no, the childbirth class was not worth it.  Perhaps I will be proven wrong when we get to labor and delivery in a few weeks.

Any thoughts from parents?  Any advice?

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