Woman of Valor Birth Services

Megan Othling - Albuquerque Doula

Why Choose Independent Childbirth Preparation Classes?

When you are pregnant you are faced with so many choices. What care provider will you see? Where will you choose to give birth? What will you name the baby? What kind of stroller should you get? The questions go on and on. It can be pretty overwhelming. So if you choose to take childbirth preparation classes, it can be tempting to just choose whatever is offered by your hospital or care provider. After all, that's one less decision you have to make. But I'd like to offer a few reasons you might like to consider taking a class taught by an independent childbirth educator -- one who is not employed or sponsored by a hospital.

  1. An independent educator does not have to conform to hospital policies. Since we are not associated with a specific hospital, we can teach you in an unbiased way. Independent childbirth preparation classes are focused on preparing parents to navigate pregnancy, labor, and birth in the way that is best for them, not in the way that is most convenient for the hospital staff. The goal is to inform parents, not to protect the hospital or to tell you what the hospital policies will "allow" you to do.  In these classes you will not just be taught how to be a "good patient," but rather given tools to take ownership of your birth and remember that your care providers are employed by you.
  2. You will learn about more options. My goal as a doula and childbirth educator in Albuquerque, New Mexico is to give evidence based information about all of the options in childbirth. For example, if we are talking about comfort measures, parents will be presented with methods including pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical. We will talk about what to do at home before it is time to go to the hospital or birth center (or before your midwife arrives at your home). What kinds of things can your partner do to help you relax? What are the risks and benefits of all of the methods of pain relief? And what is the purpose of pain in labor in the first place?
  3. An independent class can provide more a more personal touch. Pregnancy and birth are normal, but they are certainly not the same for everyone. Your experience will be as unique as you are. With small class sizes, an independent educator is able to teach to your individual needs, and may be more available for questions and discussion outside of class. 
  4. The focus is not just on having a healthy mom and baby at the end. As a childbirth educator, I realize that while everyone wants a healthy outcome for mother and baby, that is not all that pregnancy and birth is about. There is value in the entire process, and there is great value in knowing that you as mother and partner have been truly seen and cared for through every step of the process. Health matters, but so does respect. Health matters, but so does taking ownership of your choices. And birth is not just about bringing a baby into the world. It is about the creation of a family, whether that family is a single mother, or a mother and her partner. So my classes don't focus just on mother and baby, but on preparing and listening to the partner as well. The focus is holistic, not merely clinical. 
  5. An independent class can give you the tools to craft your individual birth preferences. In my classes you will not be given a pre-typed template for you to fill out to express your birth preferences. Instead, you will be given information on as many options as possible so that you can decide what you want, remembering that you can prepare for birth, but you can't predict it. You will be shown your options so that you can decide what is most important to you or you and your partner. 
  6. Childbirth educators are obsessed with birth. We really are. And we are obsessed with giving women and their partners the best information. 

Now, of course, this is not meant to badmouth childbirth education sponsored by hospitals. They will offer a lot of information, and it might be the right fit for you. These are just things to consider when making this decision. And there are many independent classes to choose from. Some focus on unmedicated birth, some offer education on hypnobirthing, some are partner focused and others are not. There are early pregnancy classes and classes focused strictly on birth. Do your research and choose what is best for you!