Saturday, June 17, 2006

Childbirth Class Series

Thursday evening meant the first of five weekly birthing classes. Two-and-a-half hour sessions filled up with videos, nutritional factoids, and exercises, all curricularized to put minds at ease. Deep breaths, in through the mouth, out through the nose. Phweeeeasy does it.

We were politely asked to fill out and pin on name tags including the attending doctor's name and baby's due date. And then we sat in a classroom for the first hour, running through the series of familiar-making gestures. "Let me tell you a little bit about myself...." Chalked on the board, important notes:

History of OB
1900's - Grantly Dick-Read: "Fear-Pain-Tension Syndrome"
1940's - Fernand Lamaze: "Psycho-prophylaxis"
1950's - Robert Bradley: "Husband-coached Childbirth"

1. Understand your body
2. Physically and mentally prepare
3. Trust your body
4. Make sound, informed decisions
5. Pack a "tool belt"

Nutrient of the Week
B Vitamins

We watched a ten-minute movie, the 1989 low-budget video Hello, Baby. Won't find this one in IMDB. I'll skip over some of the obvious critiques about the stuff on the board; that's not the reason I'm But I will say that I found it a tiny bit unusual that there were two triangles drawn to correspond to Grantly Dick-Read's century-old research. According to the lesson as told on Thursday, Dick-Read came up with a "syndrome" based in the anticipatory buildup toward childbirth, a pre-birth triad of fear-pain-tension and its antithesis, education-control-relaxation. The pair of three-term cycles were drawn to match with a pair of triangles on the board. The unusual part: the triangles were used only because there were three terms to each sequence or cycle and that they were embattled with each other, even if, as drawn, they didn't initially appear to be at odds. I also didn't know (and so learned) Lamaze was influenced by Russian psychology (including Pavlov). Lamaze's "psycho-prophylaxis," again, as explained Thursday, gets at the idea that the intensities of labor are more bearable with mental and physical distractions--focal points, strict breathing patterns, etc. But are there better distractions than regimented breathing and looking at favorite photos?

For the second half of the class we switched into another room with an open space for various exercises. After an hour in there, the session was over.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at June 17, 2006 9:40 PM to Under a Bushel

As a woman that has experienced natural childbirth three times, I have to sat that I am intrigued that these "experts' have never had to have a baby themselves! Where are the theories from those of us that actually know what the hell happens-a.k.a. keepin' it real? I can't be mad at them, though. The classes can be very helpful, though breathing in a synchronized way when you feel like your insides are being torn to shreds can be a challenge. I can't lie though; I have my Lamaze certificate in Ariana's baby book! LOL Enjoy!

Posted by: Denise at June 18, 2006 1:26 AM

Fair enough. Although, who can argue that Lamaze is The Name on the list of folks who've revolutionized obstetric thinking? A popular one, anyhow. I don't know much about it, really. But I feel much more at ease sitting in a room full of the uninitiated and amiably unraveling the fears and apprehensions (heh, this sounds like a graduate course, now that I think of it.)

Posted by: Derek at June 19, 2006 12:03 PM

Yes. Reading a good book. Did it for me. No agony here. I was a bore at the circle of birth stories and pity parties. Read a book - "Gestalt Therapy Verbatin" and remained quiet and relaxed. Hard labor - 10 minutes.. 3 hard pains and the future Dr. was born...the rest is history... Get into a good book before labor...stop until labor starts...start reading again when labor starts.. better than looking at the brain something to dwell on...put book down between pushes...Good Luck.

Posted by: Sybs at June 21, 2006 5:55 PM

Thanks for the suggestion Sybel. Derek's mentioned getting a new game and bringing a game system - all in the name of relaxation of course.

Posted by: D at June 23, 2006 12:09 PM

Just make sure that if he is watching t.v. that you get to pick the program. With the younger T., J. insisted on watching Waterboy (which I hate) and then promptly fell asleep in the chair! I woke him up when the excitement started. As for the pains, there can be quite a few and if they tell you that you can't hold your breath, tell them to shut up! I did!

Posted by: Lisa at June 23, 2006 9:02 PM