Is attending a childbirth education class worth your time? Is it worth the money? Will classes really do anything to improve your experience or make birthing your baby any easier? What kind of classes are best?
Knowledge of childbirth, fears regarding pregnancy, locus of control, state anxiety, expectation of pain, and confidence in ability to control pain were examined as possible predictors of positive childbirth experience. Self-reports of these variables were collected from 30 primiparous women enrolled in prenatal courses, on three occasions: before the first class, after the last class, and 24 to 48 hours after delivery. The number of women completing postdelivery measures was 21. It was found that those who demonstrated greater knowledge of childbirth and higher confidence after classes subsequently reported a less painful childbirth. Of interest, those with higher levels of childbirth-related fear before classes reported experiencing less anxiety during labor and delivery. It was suggested that these women may have recognized and dealt with their concerns earlier. Psychologic factors that appear to be most predictive of a positive childbirth experience include knowledge, confidence, and anxiety. The present findings support the current emphasis in prenatal education on imparting knowledge, instilling confidence, and providing a forum for dealing with childbirth-related fears.
In a span of 20 years, these two studies show that childbirth classes consistantly are useful in helping women acheive positive experiences in childbirth by providing them with knowledge that eases fears and increases their confidence. What do you fear most the familiar or the completely unknown? How does fear impact our experiences?
Responsible childbirth organizations and educators work diligently to stay up-to-date in their information and pratices so that women go into birth fully informed from the classes they take. Mother’s Advocate has a great handout highlighting the things to look for in a good childbirth education course. Not all childbirth classes are created equal, so I highly suggest you take a look at this link, and seek out a class that fits that description. These classes can be available through the hospital, but often you will find them through independent childbirth educators who are trained or certified through the various organizations interested in promoting healthy birthing information. These classes may have a fee for them, but the information you receive within them will be priceless. Many educators are willing to worth with you on pricing options as well.
On my website, I include a FAQ page where many of the most common questions are answered – Birth True Childbirth Education – Why Take a Childbirth Class? Take a look there, and begin searching for a class option near you. I know if you look into things thoroughly, you won’t regret the choice to take a class.
Many blessings to you and yours,