Being properly prepared for childbirth can really help you during delivery and labor and that begins with education. So, how does the process of labour proceed? And what things can you do to prepare yourself for it?
The Stages of Labor
The first stage is the very start of labor, when contractions begin and your waters break, as well as the process of active labor, when your cervix is almost fully dilated.
The second stage covers transition, when your body shifts from dilating to pushing, and the movement of your baby through the birth canal and finally to the outside world, where they will take their first breath.
Lastly, there’s the third stage, when all the work has been completed and your body starts the process of recovery. You won’t really notice anything of significance, but your body will already have started the healing process.
Even though every birthing process is unique, the process is perfectly natural and when the time comes you will be more prepared than you probably think.
How to Prepare for Childbirth & Labor
Your midwife and healthcare provider will typically recommend prenatal classes for you and your partner. These are designed to prepare you for the big day and will usually cover everything from the process itself, pain management, positions, home births and potential complications that may occur.
Many women also opt to attend their own complimentary childbirth classes, commonly including things like hypnobirthing. This employs a technique designed to keep you calm during labor and manage your pain in a more natural way. There are also some free online birth classes that include videos and printables.
There are also premium childbirth and prenatal classes available online. Often these are more comprehensive than the free ones, offering more depth and some even having online support groups. Popular ones include Kopa Birth and the Mama Natural Birthing Course. You can read our full guide on the best online birthing classes.
Are Birthing Classes Necessary?
Some people would argue that there are no need for birthing and prenatal classes, since you can get a lot of the information from your healthcare provider, often for free.
However, many pregnant women do find it extremely helpful to have a guide layed out in a logical and comprehensive format that can be easily accessed online. For more in-depth answer to this question, check out our article titled are birth birthing classes necessary.
You can begin birthing classes at any time and there is no ideal time to start them. Some women feel the need to be prepared as soon as they find out they are pregnant, while many prefer to wait until the second or third trimester. Some women even opt to use a birthing coach to help them through the entire birthing process, but of course this isn’t practical for most women.
Types of Birthing Classes
By now, you have probably assumed rightly, there are many types of childbirth preparation classes and you would be right. Some take a more natural approach to things like pain relief, favoring more natural breathing techniques, while others are more evidence based.
One popular type of childbirth technique is called the Lamaze method. Also referred as the psychoprophylactic method, it was popularized in the 1950s by French obstetrician Dr. Fernand Lamaze based on his observations in the Soviet Union, as an alternative to medical intervention during childbirth.
One of the major natural interventions of the Lamaze are the breathing techniques employed to calm and help with pain management, collectively these are referred to as Lamaze breathing techniques.