Birthing Classes That Improve Your Wellness Post-pregnancy
by Maureen Healy
Find out what the main childbirth education classes have to offer moms- and dads-to-be
During your third trimester, a childbirth education class can prepare you for labor and birth, boosting your wellness post-pregnancy. You can almost always find one that covers the basics of giving birth (and your hospital's specific protocols), and with a little effort you can locate one that sheds light on different approaches for a natural birth. Partners are encouraged to attend to support you and to gain a better understanding of the birthing process.
We asked Kristin Mallon, a certified nurse midwife in private practice in Hackensack, N.J., to share her knowledge of several popular childbirth education programs:
Uses a holistic wellness approach to help pregnant women "prepare for birth as a rite of passage." This practice has a unique aspect: One area of focus is preventing or minimizing emotionally difficult births.
Focuses on preparing for a natural childbirth through breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, nutrition, exercise and education. "Bradley believed that if animals could give birth without assistance and pain meds, women could too," says Mallon. "And he was very big on bringing men into the delivery room."
Is rooted in teaching pregnant women the mind-body connection and meditation science. "This method focuses on progressive relaxation and uses meditation and visualization," says Mallon. Classes focus on three wellness meditation practices and encourage natural birth; however, the techniques can and should be used in births during which medical intervention is desired or becomes necessary.
Fuses childbirth education with prenatal fitness for a fun and unique experience. Weekly 90-minute classes explore world dance forms, including belly dancing, African and Latin dance, as well as affirmations, relaxation and comfort techniques, pelvic floor exercises and optimal fetal positioning.
Aka the Mongan Method, teaches self-hypnosis, deep relaxation techniques and calm breathing to facilitate natural birth. The program is a series of five 2 1/2-hour sessions and includes scripts for home practice and birth prompts for your partner.
Emphasizes pregnancy and birth wellness with six birth practices:
- Let labor begin on its own
- Walk, move and change positions
- Have continuous support
- Avoid unnecessary interventions
- Get upright and follow urges to push
- Keep your baby with you
For short videos on each practice, go to Lamaze.org/HealthyBirthPractices.
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Women's Health: Birthing Classes That Improve Your Wellness Post-pregnancy