Disclaimer : This article shared for educational purposes, not to neglect medical and healthcare provider's advice and care. Taking independent childbirth class could be a great start and probably trigger your thoughts on things that you have not put your mind on. It is important every birthing couple understand that it is not birth class alone that will guarantee you a satisfying empowering birth. The carer you choose, the place you birth in, your physical preparation, your support people and the philosophy of all those things and some may also found self-learning via books, articles and many more will likely shape the birth. As an independent childbirth educator, I strongly encourage birthing couples to seek within you and do assess your own needs and make an informed decision before you decide on one.
1) Information transmission revolves what would be best for you not standardised as what based around hospital policy.
Every pregnancy and birth is unique as what people is. Hospitals have varying maternity policies, so whoever makes the decisions can influence what you hear and what you decide. They are restricted with availability of beds, rooms so they have their own time preferences on labour progress. Most hospitals like you to be compliant and want you to be on the bed most of the time. However after education, you would know that pushing while on your back is not only less effective but much more painful and stressful.
Women in labour naturally want to lean forward, using the benefits of gravity, something a pelvis does when it contracts, so it makes sense to stay upright. You do whatever you could in your positioning to lessen the sensation.
Hospital is a business and has issues to consider and is always managing as business entity with restrictions.
2) Independent Birth Educators bring on their specialities in their class
Majority independent birth workers are passionate about birth education as well as birth advocacy and they have this target to empower all mothers where birth is concerned.
Most of them has a speciality closely related with birth for example Lactation Counsellor, Early Childhood Practitioner, Fitness Advisor, Nutritionist and many more. They know the right way to encourage expectant couples to embrace birth as it is and motivate couples to get prepared for the arrival of a baby. Many aspects of preparation would be teach from physical, emotionally, mentally and even spiritual side. Even if you have had a bad birth experience before, great birth education is important so you move on and find something better and workable for you this round.
3) More room for options
Again, independent birth educators do not operate based on rigid policy and standard procedures. At most they would bound on the method and agreement of childbirth class service they have provided.
There will be "no, we do this" or "we do that only". They would work both ways, weighing all the sea of options that couples could choose from. They normally encourage couples to customise their own birth. It is a much more balanced view of what is possible, with the view that your body is extremely capable and with a great concern on your health status as well.
4) Teamwork with your partner
As classes are more in depth and thorough, fathers-to-be learn how to be more supportive and involved. It is important that a partner learns and understands what is going on during labour, being a support person rather get unsettled or panic. Labouring mother needs someones solid to get her through and rather fix the 'pain', instead partner can encourage mother to embrace, reassure for natural pain management.
5) Birth is not scary like what usually portrays in television
We can't help it that birth is usually viewed as pain, fear, scary and other horrible thoughts on it. In independent childbirth class, the childbirth educator would educate to change this kind of perception into something that less daunting through showcasing birth videos positively. Those positive birth videos are to inspire not to frighten, uplifting spirits and boost confidence level that one's own potential of their physiology.
6) Encourage and learn tools and options for natural pain relief
Rather than resorting on medicated pain relief which means it blocks the active sensation from contractions, these childbirth educators will educate the alternatives which benefits labouring mothers more. Expectant couples will have more confidence on how to cope with the tougher parts to labour after being exposed on more options and tools for natural pain relief.
Depending on method and approach of independent childbirth class, each of those classes has their unique ways on approaching natural pain relief as well as methods they go by. You are also being given an important insight into the philosophy of the hospital when they teach pain relief in the form of drugs.
7) Experience impart and sharing session as the class is exclusive
Usually this type of class is small and informal whereby each participants are able to participate in information exchanging and experience sharing. Nothing beats than people's experience as it insightful. Plus, the childbirth educators treated each expectant couples as individual basis and they won't bid farewell till each mothers safely birth as to these childbirth educators, their responsibilities are not only while in class. It is ongoing and some even extended for longer period as the conformity and relationship build up gradually.
8) You have more control over your birth and practice informed consent
Knowledge is the key. Without knowledge, you might surrender to the words and decision to whom you view or feel as authority. What should be is afterall it is your body, your birth, your baby and the mother should be the ultimate ones to have the authority over these, not everyone else.
If you are more aware of your options and choices, then you will be able to have interactive discussion with your partner and your support about the choices of your birth plan. You will have more control over what you want rather than having this feeling you have to leave it to the experts. You do not need to be an expert to have a great empowered birth but you do need to inform yourself and your support people and make choices based on what you have learnt.
9) Testimonials matters
Independent birth educators often operate individually or in a small team. You know who you are getting by based on their testimonials and feedbacks. Mostly are flexible too to cater to you needs and open to discuss as based on your requirements or restrictions. Great word of mouth feedback comes from their clients who leave the classes feeling great about birth, informed, inspired and empowered.
10) Lifetime investments
Especially if you are first time parents, for one-time investments it could be beneficial for both of you for your next, next birth. Even if you are already have one, two or more child before this one, the knowledge always come in handy. You could probably love to share your knowledge around your family, relatives, co-workers and create more positive vibes about birth. There's nothing more powerful than that your action speaks louder than your words.