MANY PEOPLE PLAN FOR THEIR WEDDINGS, SPENDING TIME IN PREMARITAL COUNSELING, RESEARCHING VENUES AND HIRING VENDORS. SO WHY, WHEN IT COMES TO THE BIRTH OF OUR CHILDREN, DO WE NOT EQUIP OURSELVES IN THE SAME WAY? LET’S HEAR ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF PERINATAL EDUCATION FROM SOME LOCAL CHILDBIRTH EDUCATORS.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR CHILDBIRTH
Perinatal Education Coordinator Amy Fry at Olmsted Medical Center Women’s Health Pavilion has been coordinating and teaching perinatal education classes for 18 years. She works with expecting families through childbirth and breastfeeding classes and shares resources for additional support.
Fry says that perinatal education is important and adds, “If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any.” Education empowers the birthing family to believe in the strength and capabilities of their amazing bodies. Fry reminds pregnant women, “The contractions aren’t stronger than you are, they are you.”
OMC offers 10 different classes for expecting families. For families who can only take a single class, Fry recommends one of the childbirth series. “We offer the series over four weeks or condensed over a weekend. It is the most comprehensive class to prepare them,” explains Fry. The Comforts Plus class, for patients who desire a natural birth, teaches mindfulness, birthing positions as well as emotional and spiritual coping techniques.
Fry’s favorite class to teach at OMC is the Refresher Childbirth class. When she asks families, “If you had the power to keep something the same or change something about your upcoming birth, what would (it be)?”, she says magic happens when they share their stories.
MAYO CLINC PERINATAL CLASSES
Mayo Clinic offers classes for adoptive parents, new parents, young moms, grandparents and siblings. Standard childbirth preparation classes are offered, as well as yoga, comfort strategies for labor and mindfulness courses to help mothers feel more calm and confident.
According to mayoclinic.org Healthy Lifestyle Week by Week series, “During childbirth classes, you’ll have the chance to talk about your fears with other women who probably share the same concerns. The instructor can dispel myths and help put your mind at ease. Research suggests that women who take childbirth classes know more about labor and delivery and are less likely to have psychological distress than women who didn’t go to classes.”
OH BABY! NOT YOUR MOTHER’S LAMAZE CLASS
MedCity Doulas offers individualized in-home and online childbirth education for expecting families. Co-owner Amanda Steele, a birth doula and Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, says, “We tailor the evidence-based curriculum to meet the needs of the family from childbirth basics, mindfulness and relaxation, comfort skills and pain management, to newborn care and feeding solutions.”
Steele loves getting families excited about their options and empowered to make decisions through their pregnancy and birth process. She says, “(The education) can make them feel confident as they transition into parenting.”
UNIQUE BIRTHING EXPERIENCE
KatieAnn McKee, owner of Harmony Support, is a certified HypnoBirthing, Mongan Method practitioner. She says that perinatal education “helps ease some anxieties and allows for the families to form their own birth story.”
The importance of creating a positive experience is a priority at OMC. Fry says, “That experience will look different for every birthing family. For some, a scheduled cesarean birth is the positive experience; for others it could be avoiding an epidural. Our goal is to get to know each person individually and help them get to know the options they have.”
The common thread shared by each of these educators is that each birthing family is unique and should explore their options for perinatal education, the same way some of us seek a destination wedding, others elope and some marry in a church. Knowledge is power; being an informed decision-maker during the perinatal period can only enhance your experience.
NURSING AND PUMPING
Amanda Steele’s favorite class to teach through MedCity Doula’s is Infant Feeding Solutions. Saying, “Finding solutions for the modern, working family can be challenging and is usually a big stressor for expecting parents.”
Olmsted Medical Center and Mayo Clinic both provide next level classes for parents. OMC offers the Pump It Up! Breastfeeding II class. Mayo Clinic provides Breastfeeding and Pumping 101 Class and Breastfeeding: Returning to Work/School classes for nursing moms and their partners.
Fortunately, businesses are increasingly recognizing the need for customers and employees to nurse or pump breast milk. IBM has “Mother’s Rooms” available on-site for nursing moms to express breast milk during working hours. There are also two nursing rooms for mothers at Apache Mall.
Brittany Baker is a doula and content marketer.