I am not sure whether to take traditional childbirth classes, Hypnosis for Birth classes, or both. What Birth Classes will work best for me?
Sometimes the best way to assess this is to speak with me in person. However, here are some general guidelines.
First baby for mother (first or subsequent birth for partner)
Generally if you are having your first baby, it is helpful to take a traditional childbirth series in addition to the Hypnosis for Birth classes. The Hypnosis for Birth classes help you anchor and practice the skills that will really make a difference in your labor and birth as well as other areas of your life. The traditional childbirth curriculum takes you through many of the specifics of the labor, birth and postpartum experience. If you have done a lot of reading, parts of the traditional class may be information you already know, however it is often helpful to hear it and discuss it in a group setting. Most classes include interactive exercises that will help you to clarify your own feelings about a variety of issues. Meeting other first time parents sometimes results in friendships you will continue long after the class has ended. If you are birthing in the hospital, the class offers an easy way to familiarize yourself with the birthing center. (If you do not take a class that includes a birthing center visit it is well worth your while to arrange one directly with the hospital.)
Some good reasons that parents decide not to take a traditional childbirth class series include the following: One or both parents already has a strong foundation of knowledge about labor and birth; One or both parents is uncomfortable with various aspects of the traditional birth class curriculum (most often an anxiety about blood, needles or other medical scenarios).
If you opt not to take a traditional childbirth series and the Hypnosis for Birth classes will be your only childbirth education, I hope you will talk to me about your choice and let me help you fill in any “holes” in your knowledge base with a private class or a referral to resources that will give you the preparation that is right for you.
Second baby (or thereafter) for both parents
The Hypnosis for Birth series is an ideal “stand-alone” class. It will give you time together to focus on this new baby coming into your lives. The relaxation techniques you practice in class and at home will be valuable in day-to day parenting even before your new baby is born. If you have emotional “baggage” from your previous birth(s) you may also want to come in for an additional private session with me to process that experience in a way that helps it become a resource instead of a concern.
Second (or more) baby for mother, first baby for partner
The Hypnosis for Birth series may be enough. Some partners can do a little reading about what to expect during labor, birth and the postpartum time and then relax and go with the flow. Others will be much more comfortable with a full class series or a single private class to answer their questions and concerns. If you are birthing in a hospital, a visit to the birthing center of your hospital is extremely helpful as a part of your birthing preparation. (This can be done with a class or directly through the hospital.)