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With so much misinformation and disinformation about pregnancy and birth available at your fingertips, it is important to get information from a trusted, evidence-based source outside of the hospital system. I know what you’re thinking. “Why outside of the hospital system? Isn’t the hospital the best place to look? The short answer is no. Read on to see the top 5 reasons, everyone should seek some form of formal childbirth education from a knowledgeable and reliable independent source.

So, let’s talk about why taking a childbirth course is such an important step in preparing for birth.

#5 The hospital is a business.

Many people do not realize the hospital is a facility, as in a location. It is not your actual medical professional. They are a separate business. This is why when you receive bills for hospital care, you can get one from the doctor, from the x-ray tech, from the anesthesiologist, and from the hospital. When it comes to childbirth, the hospital’s goal is to deliver the maximum number of healthy babies in the most uniformly efficient way possible. This makes it easy for the doctors, midwives and nurses they employ to know exactly what to expect when they arrive at their facility. This is why they create protocols and routines that every nurse follows unless told otherwise by the doctor. When hospitals offer childbirth classes, many times those classes are an overview of birth the way it happens at their facility. Thus making the class more about what to expect when you arrive at the hospital rather than what actually happens  during natural – as in undisturbed and unmedicated – birth. Essentially, it is giving you the heads up so you will be more compliant when you arrive. This is why an out of hospital course is so important. The goal isn’t to give you a heads up so you can comply. It is to give you the information you need in order to feel prepared and empowered to make the right choices for you and your baby on your birth journey.

#4 Your provider is a trained medical professional… not an educator.

That’s right. Contrary to popular belief, your provider is not trained to teach you; they are trained to keep you and your baby safe during labor and birth. Can they answer your questions? Of course. It’s part of their job description to be able to explain something in a way that their patients can understand. However, they are not expected to provide comprehensive education classes to their clients. If they did that, they wouldn’t have time to actually practice medicine. They are not even expected to stay abreast of all the latest and greatest in research as evidenced by the fact that it often takes more than 15 years for new evidence to become part of common practice. Again, if your providers spent all their time keeping track of the new research when they have time to provide care? 

#3 Your doula is a support person, not a medical professional.

Doula is the modern form of the ancient Greek word doule meaning female slave. Nowadays, people prefer to use the term servant instead of slave, but the fact remains that these female servants were the ones who were present supporting the laboring women of ancient times. 

They are the European predecessors of midwifery care and of the tradition of women serving and supporting women during childbirth. It is a tradition that has existed across all cultures, all countries and all times until the transfer of birth from the home to the hospital in the early 1900s. Depending on your doula’s training and experience they may be an excellent educational resource due to the fact that many doulas seek additional training as educators in order to better support the clients they serve. Sometimes your doula may even have been a childbirth educator first and then trained as a doula later in order  to offer a continuation of care to their clients. While a doula’s job does entail providing physical, emotional and informational support, oftentimes the focus is on what the client needs or desires during the labor and birth process as well as answering any questions you may have. A full on education course is not usually included in their base price. 

#2 Dr. Google is not your friend.

Google it. That’s what we all do when we have a question, right? Want to know when Veteran’s Day is? Google it. Need to know how many licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of  a Tootsie Pop? Google it. But, Googling medical information is not so simple. It usually causes expectant couples a great deal of unnecessary stress because there are so many differing opinions from so many different sources. It’s hard to figure out what to believe. When you attend a comprehensive class, like the one taught here at The Nesting Place, your instructor should be providing you with the  most up to date evidence available including all the pros and cons in order to allow you to make your own choice. Don’t get me wrong, some instructors will have their own personal biases so it is important to check out their website and or reach out to them directly to make sure the course they are offering is in line with your desires and beliefs. 

And the #1 reason you should take an out of hospital childbirth class?

If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any options.

I know what you’re thinking, “Why do I/we need a class? Women have babies all the time. Do I/we really need to know all that stuff?” 

The answer is a resounding YES! When it comes to childbirth, what you don’t know CAN hurt you. 

Now, I know I am biased because I am a childbirth educator, but hear me out on this.

The saying goes, “when you know better, you DO better” so, how come it is perfectly okay to spend hours, days or even weeks researching your next phone, tv or car, but you don’t need to “waste time” educating yourself about what is going to be needed physically, mentally and emotionally to bring a baby into this world? Your doctor will take care of you, right? They will tell you everything you need to know, right? Well, you’ve read this far so now you know that it is not your provider’s job to research and educate you. It is YOUR job. Your job to educate yourself. To know your rights. To know your options. To understand what is going to happen during labor and what you can do to find comfort or even enjoyment in your birth experience.

Out of hospital childbirth courses above all else focus on the act of undisturbed, unmedicated childbirth. Their goal is to help parents-to-be  to understand what will happen to the pregnant body on its journey to bringing a baby earthside. Of course, different classes suit different personality styles. Some teach that birth is a sacred rite of passage. Others are more based around meditation or self hypnosis. And still others teach that birth is the sensual, sexual and pleasurable climax of the reproductive cycle. There is something for everyone. Here at The Nesting Place, we teach the Bradley Method. Using a more practical and comprehensive approach our goal is to strike a balance between finding your birth joy and preparing for the realities of birth. At The Nesting Place, we teach natural childbirth for the modern realist with a gentle heart. Meaning, we want you to know all the details of undisturbed birth (including those scary what ifs) AND we want  you to know how to accomplish it using proven comfort measures and coping techniques so that you can find your birth joy in any setting be it home, hospital or birth center. Plus, we go the extra mile  to include information about your legal rights as childbearing people as well your options to avoid the most common interventions at the hospital. No one knows what lies in store for you on your birth-day, but knowing all you can and preparing the best way you know how will give every birthing person the greatest chance of experiencing a positive, empowering and joy filled birth.

You deserve that.

And so does your baby.