When preparing for a natural birth, couples inevitably must make decisions about what is most important to them and what fits into their financial situation. Birth classes are offered everywhere and vary greatly. From buffet style hospital classes (where you pick and choose which classes you need), to independent “crash” courses, to just doing some self study, there are many choices for expectant parents.
Some feel like they can prepare and learn well on their own and don’t feel their budget allows for a birth class when information is readily available elsewhere.
At Birth Boot Camp we and our instructors teach comprehensive 10-week birth classes. Why should you and your partner invest both the time and money in a class that lasts almost three months? Here are a few reasons why.
One major benefit of a longer birth class is a sense of community that inevitably develops among those that are learning together. For many, this is one of the most important aspects of their class. Those peers that attend with you are in your same time in life and have similar goals. These classmates/friends who are also planning a natural birth while others look on with either confusion or disapproval, can become a very important support system.
As couples learn together, the perspective and questions from other students does wonders in growing their own knowledge and helping them learn things that they wouldn’t have even thought of otherwise.
Even in classes that are smaller, the support of an instructor who has effectively, “been there/done that” is reassuring. You know at least one person who has had a natural birth and truly believes that you can, too. Not only that, our instructors are required to prepare extensively to certify and are required to continue their education and their community involvement every year.
We are so proud of our growing group of instructors and the changes they are making in their communities. They are expected to have extensive community resources available to you, their student. They are passionate about birth and they will give you far more than you could ever repay them. Not only that, your instructor is required to have had a natural birth herself. Your instructor will often become a lasting friend and source of support.
Ten weeks might sound like a long time, when you sign up for a class (and I have certainly had a few husbands surprised to find out it would last that long!) but the ten weeks is a blessing and not a liability.
You could, literally, spend years studying birth and not learn everything about it. You could read endlessly on the Internet; you would find lots of information, but filtering through it would be difficult, even overwhelming. Our curriculum is designed by instructors and birth professionals who have narrowed down precisely the information that is most important for YOUR birth. We want you to succeed and the time you put into your education will be an obvious benefit to you when you go into labor.
An integral part of any Birth Boot Camp class is the art of relaxation. It may feel awkward, at first, to “relax” in front of other people, but that might just be the most important preparation you do for your birth.
While we encourage all of our students to also practice relaxation at home (it can be very hard to learn how to relax in two weeks, and virtually impossible whilst in the throes of hard labor), the ten weeks gives you ample time to get comfortable with the concept and execution of couples relaxation.
In-class relaxation is also invaluable. Most couples will be birthing with others present. The time spent practicing in class gets you fully prepared to labor in your chosen birth place.
Nutrition is a much debated, but deeply important aspect of healthy pregnancy and natural birth preparation. One of your earliest classes will cover precisely that and will include a fully functional and easy to use “Chow Chart” for you to track and observe your own nutritional intake.
Midwives tell us that their clients who take a Birth Boot Camp class eat better and know more. They have the added support of a group of loving peers, the knowledge of a teacher, and more accountability in their weekly class that they will ever get with a once monthly visit to a care provider. Taking a solid class gives you the nutritional information that you need early in your pregnancy and then gives you the support you need to thrive.
6. Date night!
With all the preparations for a new baby, it can be easy to let certain things slide, such as time together as a couple. A weekly class makes date night an essential during the last half of your pregnancy. The time spent in class is great for meeting new friends and building community, but perhaps even more important in strengthening the couple bond.
Your class won’t just be about birth. It will be about the two of you preparing for YOUR unique birth. We don’t give any magic bullets that will guarantee a special experience if you just follow the rules. No, we give you the tools that you need to fill your tool box. You take it from there.
One thing that we at Birth Boot Camp are incredibly proud of is our student manual or “Field Guide.” Each and every student gets one and it is a treasure trove of information, personalized activities, tips, and take home work. In fact, we have had instructors say that the Field Guide is, all by itself, worth the price of the class.
With over 150 pages of glossy, colorful, information, the Field Guide helps you go home after class and continue learning, practicing, growing, and preparing for your best birth experience. Maybe you haven’t done homework since college, but when preparing for your birth, it is time to start again! Your 10-week birth class will help you get ready and focus your learning.
8. The Partner
I know that when I, personally, took my first birth class, I was prepared with a lot of knowledge about birth. I was going to have to actually do it, so I felt a burning desire to get ready! My husband, on the other hand, simply didn’t feel the pressure that I did.
A birth class for us, and for most of the couples that I teach, is great for mom, but priceless for her partner. Not only will he learn how to comfort, support, touch, talk, and help mom through labor, he will gain in confidence and excitement. One of the most touching things I witness at the end of a 10-week series is how excited the dads are. They KNOW they can do this. They aren’t frightened anymore. More than that, they know that their partner is going to rock this birth.
Having a partner who simply believes in you and your innate ability to birth is priceless and a huge asset to your experience.
When learning about birth, there is simply tons to know. From choosing the right care provider and birthplace, to breathing and pregnancy exercise, the information can become overwhelming.
We train our instructors to use a variety of teaching techniques, so that every student can learn and retain what they need. Your in-class time, your Field Guide and take home work, and your own personal reading, will all work together to make sure that the information that is most necessary for you will be firmly implanted in your memory. There is simply no way that this can be done in a shorter or “crash course” type class.
10. Breastfeeding Information
When we first organized Birth Boot Camp childbirth education we talked to real women and asked them what was lacking in their birth classes. One answer that was overwhelmingly repeated was that women needed more information about breastfeeding.
To us, the breastfeeding relationship is monumental in its importance. We include with every class a copy of our two disk DVD set, Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE. With hours of information (in addition to the breastfeeding information that will be covered by your instructor, who has, herself, breastfed), this DVD is like a whole other class.
Many couples today are paying for separate breastfeeding classes from a local hospital. We include breastfeeding in our comprehensive curriculum. Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE is taught by renowned IBCLC (internally board certified lactation consultant) Mellanie Shepherd. Mellanie is a treasure trove of information, and by the time you finish watching her DVD, you will be well prepared for breastfeeding.
11. You will be more likely to have a natural birth!
Last, but certainly not least, Birth Boot Camp students have a much higher chance of having a natural birth! Our classes are fairly new, but we expect similar results in the future. You can see our one year anniversary results here.
We know that preparing for birth can be overwhelming and time consuming. As women who have birthed naturally, we can also assure you that you will not regret the time you spent and the friends you made, preparing for one of life’s greatest adventures- the birth of your new recruit.
Curious to learn more about Birth Boot Camp and our natural childbirth classes? We have an online birth class option and natural birth instructors in your area. We also offer a comprehensive, two disk breastfeeding DVD, Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE.
Birth Boot Camp- Training Couples in Natural Birth