Disclaimer: The main author of this blog is a man and before you blow off my opinion, assuming that I am just doing a service to all other men to save them from the agony of a 4 hour class discussing mucus plugs and vaginal tearing, know this, my wife and I wrote this blog together and this is from our joint perspective.
Giving birth for first time parents can be very confusing. Everyone has their own story and every story comes packed with its own opinion of what you, the expectant parent, should and should not do. And no matter how much you read, you still feel like you are going in blind.
But lo and behold, there is a class to teach you all about different strategies of giving birth!
But is it worth it? Is this information available elsewhere? We live in the information age, but is this information withheld from the internet, kept secret by medical professionals who want to exploit you for your $30 admission fee? (Sorry, I’ve been watching too many conspiracy theories). After forking up the cash and spending my Saturday not playing video games but instead listening to horrible things that could and will happen to my wife, my opinion: birthing class isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
My wife and I are now in the 36th week of pregnancy and we have been the perfect expectant parents! We have read stacks of pregnancy books, watched birthing videos, changed eating habits, and exercised regularly. The nursery has been done for months now, the crib is assembled and the rest was just the waiting game.
We have done everything right thus far, so to us, the question of a birthing class was not an if but when. The class itself was $30. We scheduled the 4 hour Saturday class since my wife has next to no energy after work on a Tuesday. She’s typically in bed by 7pm. Pregnancy has hit her hard!
At the age of 29 I’ve done my best to forget everything I learned in high school, like how a 4 hour class is mind torture. A 4 hour birthing class! When bingeing an entire series of a show like Parenthood, my wife and I have been known to disappear for entire weekends, not moving from our couch. But four hours listening to someone talk about labor feels like an eternity.
The instructor brought drinks and snacks, which was nice since it would be a death sentence to be stuck in a room with eight hungry, hungry pregos (which gives me an idea for a pregnancy inspired board game…) The only problem was there was only one scheduled bathroom break! My wife pees three times during a commercial break, she’s not gonna last two hours holding her bladder!
We were the second couple to arrive of a class of around 8 couples, age ranging from early twenties to late thirties. One thing that surprises me is that when a man of any age is put in a classroom setting they revert back to their high school days and become as disconnected with the lesson as a jock is during algebra. We weren’t thirty minute in before I counted two expectant dads already dozing.
For some reason, less than fifteen minutes in, my wife gets the giggles. Every near dirty word, talk about the lady bits, you name it, she is trying her best to hold in her laughter. This is so not like my wife either. She usually has to make me calm down.
The class was what you would expect. We went over different breathing methods, filled out a birthing plan, learned different techniques to help induce labor, stretches to help relieve the stress and how to utilize a yoga ball for pregnancy.
Close to the end our instructor went over the scary stuff. From vacuums to episiotomies, this lady was not holding back. And she talked about it in the most pleasant way! Never in my life have I heard someone talk about post-birth bleeding like she was reading Winnie-the-Pooh to kindergartners. She was about as pleasant as a field of daisies and yet as delicate as a car crash.
But after walking away the only thing I really learned was the best place to park when the my wife goes into labor.
Sure there were benefits in attending a birthing class.
- You get to talk to an actual person and ask them specific questions
- You get a packet of information that has everything you need to know without the fluff. (They’re not trying to sell a book, they’re trying to teach you.)
- If your husband hasn’t picked up a single book the entire time you’ve been pregnant, a class could help since it requires no reading and the book has pictures. This class could teach him some techniques to help in labor so he doesn’t just stand in the corner, freaking out.
- The class is full of other couples who are sharing in all of your discomfort. They may even ask questions you didn’t even think of!
But my wife and I had spent her first two trimesters reading books, health websites, and watching videos on these subjects.
You see, we live in a different world than our parents did. They did not have access to the internet and thousands of different opinions online with a plethora of free options for information. You can search Youtube for different Lamaze classes without leaving the comfort of your home. Do some research into the person you’re listening to. Some will come straight out and tell you they’ve been teaching birthing classes for years! Just be careful because the internet is a breeding ground for weirdos…
Find a trusted website like babycenter.com. They are the number 1 pregnancy and parenting digital destination and serve 45 million parents every month. There they have multiple articles on giving birth, ranging from defining Braxton Hicks contractions to signs of labor. You can pretty much match the website to the handout given at your local birthing class.
The doctors push birthing class so much because they want us to be educated, to know the signs of labor and what to do when labor occurs.
How you chose to be educated is up to you. Would you rather do it at your own pace, free online? Or have an instructor walk you through everything to make sure you are doing it correctly? Or both?
This was just our experience and we didn’t find it helpful since all of the material was available to us already. But what about you? Did you go to birthing class? Did you find it helpful? Are you planning on going to birthing class? Has this post changed the way you see it? Let us know in the comments! Let’s open up a discussion.