Why take a natural birth class if I’m planning to have an epidural?
Short answer: Because you learn way more than how to have a natural birth.
When people ask me about the Birth Boot Camp Classes I teach in Flower Mound TX, they often say “oh, I don’t need a natural birth class. I’m getting an epidural.” Now this isn’t an anti-epidural post, just to be clear. I think everyone knows what is best for them, and I certainly wouldn't recommend you birth in a setting you aren't comfortable with. Birth doesn’t go so well if the mother is anxious or afraid.
What I do want to do is make sure you know that planning on an epidural doesn’t mean you won’t ever feel any pain. I also want to show you why investing in your birth is worthwhile. (And considering the benefits, the cost of a birth class is fairly minimal. For example, have you seen how much the average couple spends on a wedding? The amount we spend on preparing for our births pales in comparison.)
Birth Boot Camp gives couples the evidence and current information they can use to plan their birth, specifically tailored to what works for them.
You might not have thought of the following when planning your birth. Here are a few reasons a Birth Boot Camp class is a good idea; even if you plan to birth with medication.
This isn't as fun as it sounds.
Sometimes when an epidural is placed women will have a spot that the medication doesn’t reach and they will feel contractions just in that location. In this case, you’ll need those comfort measures to rely on!
It Might Be Awhile...
Even with an epidural early labor can last hours or even days. If you plan to birth in a hospital, this means you’ll have a lot of time trying to cope with contractions before pain medication is even an option.
Think You're Guaranteed An Epidural? Not Quite.
I'd like to tell you about a good friend of mine(with her permission) who planned on an epidural for each of her births. Her last birth was so fast she delivered the baby soon after arriving at the hospital, with no time for an epidural. She was never planning to birth without pain medication(natural birth actually terrified her!), but it happened.
Another common occurrence is when the anesthesiologist is overwhelmed with other patients, and you are essentially "in line" for medication. I’ve seen moms who waited for an epidural for HOURS and didn’t know what to do in the meantime. Don’t get caught off guard! Taking a class is worth it.
Know Your Stuff
With any intervention, there are pros and cons to weigh. If you are planning on an epidural, you should find out how that works. What are the risks? Benefits? How is it placed? Our class covers common medications and interventions so you can make decisions about your care, fully informed.
The Partner Needs Support Too!
Birth can be intense. Mom might be really focused during birth. Sometimes she is so focused she can’t voice what she wants and needs as well. The last thing we want is a partner who feels helpless. Helpless is no bueno. Birth Boot Camp gives partners lots of tools to use, and in class I pass out little card reminders for Dads to bring to the birth - a sort of cheat sheet for supporting mom, if you will. In class couples learn together, so they are on the same page as they plan their birth.
Fail To Plan, Plan To...Not Get What You Want
If you want something to go well, you wouldn’t just show up and wing it(see this post if you need a little help with your birth plan). You'd prepare ahead of time. That would help you to feel a little more ready, confident, and calm. (All of these are important for a safe, happy birth!) A childbirth class should prepare you so that if plans change or something comes up, you’ll know what to do because you’ve prepared for it, whether it’s a long labor, change of birth location, a necessary induction, or even a cesarean.