What makes a good childbirth class?

At DadSkills online childbirth classes for the dad-to-be we have been providing online childbirth classes to dads for over a year now. It didn’t start here though. As doulas and childbirth educators we have been working with mums and dads to be for over 11 years.

During this time, we have made it our mission to analyse what makes a great childbirth class.

This is what we have found and, as a consequence, developed our very own childbirth classes – just for dads to be.

1. Is Dad-to-be included?

By this we don’t mean “Is he welcome to attend the class?” We mean is, “Is his role actively encouraged in the childbirth class?” I have been irritated so many times by how the dad-to-be’s role is belittled. It doesn’t matter what type of birth it is, EVERY birth needs a supportive partner.

2. Is Dad-to-be taught how to help the labour progress and how to help with pain coping practices?

This is where the naturals skills of the dad-to-be come in. If dads-to-be are given specific tools they can make a HUGE difference to how the birth progresses AND how their partner copes with the pain of labour.

3. Is the Dad-to-be shown how to advocate for his partner?

DadSkills has three blogs now about advocacy, have a read:

http://dadskills.com/medical-care-is-all-about/

http://dadskills.com/dad-to-be-here-are-5-top-tips-for-advocating-at-birth/

http://dadskills.com/a-closer-look-at-advocacy-in-birth/

4. Does the class get you talking about your birth preferences before the birth?

We have found countless times that the more couples talk about what they BOTH want before the birth, the more calm and connected to each other they are. This is great preparation for parenthood – being on the same page.

5. Does your childbirth class talk about what to expect when you get home?

I am still flabergastered at the lack of information around this. You are about to undergo huge changes to your bodies, relationships and finances, just to name a few. We don’t want to scare you. We want to help you.

6. Does the class answer the questions you most want to ask but feel silly asking?

How many times have you heard, “Any questions?”, only to hear crickets. I will let you on in a little secret. Everyone wants to ask the same questions. DadSkills childbirth classes have a series of short videos that answer the most frequently asked questions, from “I’m worried about seeing my partner in pain”, to “When is the best time to go to hospital?”

7. Does it talk about caesarean births?

Now this is contentious. Everyone has an opinion about birthing by caesarean or naturally. The bottom line is, that although our wish is for you to have a ‘textbook’, low-risk, uncomplicated birth, we can’t promise you this. DadSkills firmly believes it’s good to know what to expect if you are faced with a caesarean birth. Even it’s not what you were planning.

What we have found is that most hospital and birth centre-based childbirth classes focus on the mum-to-be and how the facility is run. This is all good info, of course there needs to be a lot of focus on the mum-to-be. And who doesn’t want to know where the after hours access is? Or who you should call if you are thinking of transferring to the hospital. However these things do very little to properly prepare you for becoming a family.

So when you’re making a decision around what childbirth classes you are going to attend, we strongly recommend trying to make your decision based less around whether or not it is free, and more around what benefits you will receive from the classes.

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