5 Why's to undertake childbirth education
My passion for education has developed over years of being on the front one of midwifery. Working with women and their partners everyday and seeing the difference between a couple that have done some form of preparation, compared to those who haven't. I acknowledge that even the most prepared woman, with a beautifully written birth plan, can have everything go wrong that can go wrong, as there are so many unpredictable and uncontrollable variations that can come with labour, birth and becoming a parent. However, it is her ability to give informed consent and keep control that inspires me to spread the word and help others feel this way! New to the Tribe has designed a safe place for women and their partners to learn, express feelings and emotions and start their journey on becoming parents.
Anyone who has ever had a child will tell your there is nothing that can truly prepare you for what is to come. The marathon of labour, the long sleepless nights, the constant worry that your doing something wrong, but like anything else in life, any preparation is better than no preparation. Increasing your knowledge of subjects is never going to harm you. Remember, knowledge is power!
Here are five reasons childbirth and parenting education is so important;
1. It will allow you to give true informed consent.
Everything that happens to you and you baby requires your consent. Hospitals and organisations have policies and procedures based on best practice and evidence guidelines, with the aim to provide appropriate and safe care to everyone. This doesn't mean everything they advise is what is right for you and your baby. When you educate yourself in pregnancy it allows you to research topics, work out the positives and the negatives and make decisions about what's right for you. When you are in labour, your mind is preoccupied with coping with the pain and it's often difficult to make informed decisions, therefore being aware of certain subjects will allow you to feel more in control and give true informed consent.
2. It will separate fact from fiction.
Every mother has a different birth story. Varying from horrific tales of terror, to the most amazing and empowering story ever told. It's so important to remember every labour is different, just like every woman is different and just because it happened to Ronda down the street, doesn't mean it is going to happen to you. There are so many variables in labour and a lot of what we hear is only half the story. Attending an education program in pregnancy will allow you to clarify some of the stories you have heard, which in turn will eliminate the fear that comes with it. Having access to a real-life expert in the field will also make it less tempting to believe everything you read on Dr. Google, also reducing the fear and clearing up the fog of information.
3. It will allow you to make new connections.
Going through a childbirth and parenting education program with other couples who are at a similar gestation, can be quite a bonding experience. You connect with them on levels that you didn't think you would. There is something about being surrounded by others in the same situation as you, while discussing heavy and sometimes scary subjects, that brings you together. Knowing that everyone else in the room is feeling the same way and experiencing the same things, brings a sense of normality and calmness. You might even find yourself sharing contacts and catching up once baby is born.
4. You will learn about a variety of coping mechanisms.
Midwives and other childbirth educators are the experts in normal labour and birth. They work with labouring women nearly every day and have a basket of tricks to help you cope and deal with the pain of labour. Remember that labour and birth is a normal and natural process that women are built to do. Women are strong and resilient creatures that can deal with most things. Having said this, there are plenty drugs available to you and childbirth education will allow you to work through the ins and outs of these as well.
5. It will get your partners involved.
Teaching your partner how they can be helpful is priceless. Often partners will feel helpless and scared during the whole pregnancy, labour, birth and parenting experience. Bringing them to childbirth education programs will not only help eliminate some of these fears, it will allow you to cope better, as you have a calm and supportive partner by your side. It can be really difficult to see your loved one in pain, therefore if your partner can understand that pain in labour is normal, it will help them stay calm and be useful to you!
Childbirth and parenting education should be fun. Don't be sat in a sterile room, with twenty other couples, on hard seats, with no nourishment being lectured on what is going to happen to you. Choose to be comfortable, with open discussion and be empowered to make informed decision on a wide range of topics. Give yourself the best opportunity to be well prepared. Take some time as a coupe to relax and best prepare for your future!