1.  What style of childbirth class is this?  I am certified as a childbirth educator through CEAMNY, which is the most rigorous certification program in the country, requiring two- to three years of study before teachers begin their practice. The class is also locally tailored; I participate in ongoing continuing education about local birth practices and current research.  

In class, rather than teaching one technique, we begin with the notion that different people respond differently to pain and stress, and each birth is different. Therefore every woman needs to learn a wide range of pain coping options. You will be educated and well prepared for birth after this class regardless of your personal style. You will have tools to engage your care provider, to get the information you need.

2. What topics do you cover? 

  • basic biology and anatomy 
  • hormones of pregnancy/hormones and physiology of labor
  • signs and stages of labor, and how long the whole thing takes
  • when to go to the hospital
  • pain coping tools including massage, positions, meditation, breath work, hydrotherapy, and drugs
  • how to develop a dialogue with your caregiver to get the information you need and the best possible care
  • basics of the technology and procedures used in hospital births, including induction, monitoring tools, assisted vaginal birth, c-section
  • the wide range of normal variations in the birth process
  • fears and anxieties around childbirth and parenting
  • normal postnatal physical, emotional and logistical issues, as well as breastfeeding basics
  • when to go to the hospital, what to bring, do you need a “birth plan” and other common questions.

3. What if I plan to use the epidural?  Do I still need a class?  Yes!  Everyone embarking on childbirth needs to know her options.  Epidural does not take away the stress, and it does not push your baby out.  And everyone needs to have a sense of how labor progresses, how the hospital works and how to communicate with your midwife or doctor.  

4.  I am not really a very crunchy granola person, will I feel out of place?  Neither am I, and I’ve never felt out of place in my class :-).  Seriously, it’s a class to teach you about the childbirth process and help prepare you for what you’re about to do.  We talk about facts and information, you’ll meet other people who are in the same moment as you are, we will have some fun, and you will feel more prepared.  It’s not about being a “type.”  

5. Do I bring my partner?  Yes — the class is for both of you and covers the role of the nonlaboring partner as well. 

6. Do you teach breathing?  I assume that if you’re a living adult you already know how to breathe!  But meditative breathwork is one of many tools that help some women, so we cover the basics of breathwork for mindful relaxation, and we talk about using breath as a self-hypnotic focus.

7.  What should I wear?  Wear comfortable clothes. In Classes 2 and 4 of the P&P series we practice different positions and it helps to wear stretchy pants so you can move around.  

8.  Do you cover breastfeeding and newborn care?  The culmination of pregnancy is the birth of your child, who must be cared for and fed.  A good childbirth class is incomplete if it doesn’t acknowledge what birth leads to.  My private classes, cover everything you need to know about birth and beyond.  At this time, group classes only include childbirth, and you will sign up for breastfeeding and newborn care separately. 

8a. Does a dad-to-be come to breastfeeding class?  Yes.  The class is designed for both parents; it is extremely helpful for dad to be there to learn the range of normal, how to help you, and troubleshooting.  

9. Is there a class reunion?  I don’t hold reunions, but I will create an email list for students so that you can share your birth stories and ongoing questions/concerns by email.  We love to see the pictures of all your little ones!  And all students are invited to join my new moms’ groups once their babies have arrived.