In the general American culture we have moved dramatically away from normal births. Pregnancy and births are medically managed and fussed with, ignoring the mother’s instincts and natural body development to grow babies and birth them. Recently, there has been a shift back to embracing the natural aspects of birth and the natural instincts of a woman. Her pregnancy and birthing of the baby are again becoming celebrated and recognized for the true miracle they are.
In generations past and in other cultures women would learn about babies by caring for them, siblings, cousins, neighbors, close friends, women and girls would have exposure to young babies from a young age. Often today, a woman’s first experience with an infant is her own. Many new mothers have never changed a diaper until their own child. Talk about on the job training.
Education Is Essential
Additionally, women today have usually not seen a baby be born, a woman in labor, or had any experience towards pregnancy aside from pop culture. Medical dramas portray every pregnancy and birth as a life threatening situation which requires immediate intervention to save the life of the mother or baby, usually this is not the case. Most often low risk women have uncomplicated pregnancies and would do perfectly fine in a no-intervention birth. In fact it has been shown that often the initial interventions undertaken by a medical team set a mother up for further interventions and potential interventions.
A better way to approach this it to learn how to manage and support a pregnancy naturally and help a pregnant women to prepare for the birth of her child in a natural, safe, comfortable environment. Fortunately, there are a lot of classes available now to help familiarize people with normal pregnancy and birth. Most of the best classes offered are done by independent childbirth educators. Some of the classes follow a method such as Bradley or Lamaze. Others just give an overview. Of course it is a good idea to make sure you have the basic biology of birth down. This includes knowing what happens when. Often the more specific classes assume that students are coming in with a certain knowledge base.
Your Baby, Your Body, Your Birth
Childbirth preparation is usually crucial today for women aiming to have a natural birth in a hospital or with OBs. Most OBs are not well versed in natural birth and are trained to intervene and manage not observe. Think carefully about what you want your birthing experience to be. Birthing a baby with no medical intervention was the most empowering experience of my life. I never felt more feminine and a deep feeling of accomplishment and strength as I did then.
This experience would not have been possible if I had not had a knowledgeable doula, a supportive partner, education, and a plan. Look for some books by Ina May Gaskin, she is amazing. Many times classes offered by hospitals are nothing more than glorified hospital tours so make sure you know what you are signing up for if you are signing up for a hospital class. Hospital tours are important but this should not be the only method of birth preparation.
Other Helpful Classes
In addition to birth preparation classes I took a few others including a babywearing and a cloth diapering class. The babywearing class went over the benefits of babywearing for mother and baby. It also introduced some carriers and how to use them. It also covered babywearing safety. The cloth diaper class was also really educational. It helped get my husband on board for using cloth diapers by detailing the benefits of cloth, the risks of disposable diapers, the ease of modern cloth diapering and the items a family would need to successfully cloth diaper a new baby. I was glad I spent the time and money on these classes they were very helpful to me and helped provide me with a good foundation.
A London resident, Christobel is a loving grandmother dedicated to educating the next generation of parents about the benefits of cloth diapering and eco-friendly parenting choices. She does this by publishing anecdotes and cloth diaper reviews, including reviews for the Charlie Banana Diaper on line in a friendly and relatable way.