Community Birth Class
Six Weeks, Six Families: This is a comprehensive childbirth series, combining small class size with the benefits of a group setting: building connections with families in the same stage of life and the opportunity to have meaningful discussion and bounce new ideas off of others. Each meeting lasts three hours and we will meet over a six-week period to give time for reflection and understanding between major topics.
Group classes are available on a sliding scale.
Class One: Healthy Pregnancy
Our first class begins with building our connection as a group and transitions into a focus on healthy practices for pregnancy.
- Nutritional needs of pregnant women, applying these recommendations to "real life".
- Exercise recommendations and warnings
- Changes in your body, common discomforts and possible solutions
- Recognizing signs of labor and warning signs of pregnancy complications
- Healthy Birth Practice #1: Let Labor Begin on its own
- Indications for induction
- Relaxation: Touch-to-Release
At-home activity: Read excerpt, "The Simple Story of Birth".
Class Two: "Normal" Birth
Class two revolves around typical (as if there were such a thing!) labor and birth, from the first contraction to the last push. We focus on utilizing movement and positioning to encourage a smooth, safe experience.
Exploring different ideas of what "normal" and "natural" mean
The physiology and hormones of labor and birth
Healthy Birth Practice #2: Walk, Move and Change Positions
- Dilation, effacement and station
- Timing contractions + How will it feel?
- When to call your provider/ Early labor projects
- Baby's path through the pelvis
- Optimal fetal positioning
- Labor position practice stations
- Emotional and physical changes (what to expect)
- Fetal descent
- Signs of readiness to push
- Spontaneous vs. coached pushing
- Preventing perineal tears
At home activity: Belly Mapping
Class Three: Coping and Comfort
Our third class is often my favorite; we will go through the emotional and physical needs of a laboring woman and those supporting her. Lots of hands-on practice makes this session very busy!
Common feelings regarding childbirth
Mental/Emotional methods of pain relief
- Cultural and media messages
- The power of words
- The Fear-Tension-Pain cycle
Healthy Birth Practice #3: Bring a loved one, friend, or doula
- Relaxation and Visualization
Physical techniques for pain relief
- Building a support team
- Support expectations
- Creating a peaceful birth environment
Labor practice stations
- Movement and positioning
- Massage and partner touch
- Hydrotherapy (tub, shower)
- Maintaining steady breath
Home Activity: Birth videos
Class Four: Routine vs. Reasoned
In our fourth meeting we will delve into the choices you have regarding common interventions and tools used in today's typical birth, followed by a discussion on the first moments following birth and the newborn procedures you will need to know about.
Healthy Birth Practice #4: Avoid interventions that are not medically necessary
Understanding the indications, risks, and alternatives for:
- Membrane sweep/strip
- Cervical exams
- IV fluids
- Continuous, intermittent and manual fetal monitoring
- Cesarean Birth
- The cascade of interventions
- Hepatitis B vaccination
- Erythromycin eye ointment
- PKU testing
- Bathing baby
- Cord Clamping
- Vitamin K
Home activity: Birth Plan
Class Five: Rights in Childbirth
We will spend class five peer editing your birth plan, outlining your rights and how to navigate communication with your providers, and troubleshooting common roadblocks in "normal" birth.
Birth plan basics - Developing your unique plan
- Why write a birth plan?
- What a birth plan can/can not do
- Advice on what to include and what to talk about before the birth
- Postpartum/baby plan
- Effective communication with your care provider/nurse
- Informed consent and refusal
- Your rights as a childbearing woman
Class Six: Breastfeeding and Postpartum
Our sixth class will begin with a short intro to breastfeeding information, followed by time spent on postpartum health.
- Breastfeeding Myths
- Positioning and common issues
- Exploring our expectations for birth and parenting
- Postpartum health and considerations
- Signs of postpartum depression and anxiety, how to find help