So your midwife said to start eating dates because you are approaching your due date, and you’re looking at the giant container you bought from Costco and wondering how in the world you are going to get 8-10 of those suckers down the hatch every day? Have no fear, I have assembled some recipes for you to make the task less daunting and maybe even delicious and fun.
Short answer: The earlier, the better; but keep reading and I’ll explain why (even though you may not like what I have to tell you.)
The best way to figure out when to FINISH your class is to count backwards from your guess date (which you may call your due date) about 8-10 weeks. That will put you around your 30th-32nd week of pregnancy. Yes, that’s when you want to have your class completed, not when to start it. So if you are looking at a 6 week class, you should aim to start it around your 24th week. Longer classes you will want to start even sooner. Many classes are announced 4-8 weeks before they start. This means you will want to start searching for classes in the beginning of your second trimester, around your 16th week. There are a few reasons for this.
Your baby may come earlier than expected. You definitely want to know what preterm labor looks and feels like (this is something you will learn in class). Your care provider can certainly tell you about this but most of my students have never been provided this information as part of their routine prenatal care. You will want those labor coping and advocacy skills to help you through labor whenever it happens.
You may need extra time to find the right class. Once you have done your homework and decided on a class format or style that is a good fit for you, there is a chance that the class may fill up quickly or be offered at a time that conflicts with your schedule. Your instructor will be more able to accommodate you if you contact them early. I have had clients contact me in their first trimester which allowed me to plan my group class around their schedule.
You need time to alter your plans based on information you learn.Many pregnant people choose their initial care provider based on previous history, who is geographically closest to them and/or who takes their insurance. But not all care providers or birth settings are going to give you evidence based care or the model of care that best suits your birth intentions. Nobody wants to think they hired the wrong doctor or midwife, but during your class there is a good chance you may conclude that your chosen care provider is not a good fit. Some people will tell you that you can switch providers any time you want – even while you are in labor – but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. And, it’s better to get the type of care you want as early in pregnancy as possible.
All of this begs the question, “What should I look for in a childbirth class?” Well . . . that’s entirely up to you. Birthing classes come in a variety of flavors. You will find private and group formats, as well as in-person or virtual classes, and now even a hybrid class (meets in-person AND virtually) is available through Evidence Based Birth®. You will find everything from one-day workshops to 12-week classes. There are also a number of methods offered so be sure to research the options in your area (and a little beyond) to see what works best for you!
The hospital childbirth class near you may not be the only or best option, but it’s probably the least expensive. However, you may find yourself compromising on quality. If you want an out-of-hospital class but cost is an issue, be sure to reach out to the instructor you want and let them know you are interested in the class but cost is a sticking point. There may be payment plans available or a work/study option.
This past December I took the training to learn how to teach a new childbirth class developed by Rebecca Dekker PhD, RN, APRN, founder of EvidenceBasedBirth.com. As you may know, I have been an Evidence Based Birth®️ Instructor for several years now and have incorporated EBB learning modules into my classes in some form or another. This new class is different from what I have been teaching in that it is completely designed by Evidence Based Birth®️.
There are many things I love about this curriculum as an instructor but the most important aspect to me is that it is appealing to the newer generations of parents-to-be who desire a different structure to learning. Rebecca thoroughly researched Millennials and Generation Z to discover how they learn best and what they like and don’t like about childbirth classes or the idea of them. The end result is a class that features:
Two In-person classes for rehearsal of comfort measures and birthing time. This is something that is lacking from online-only courses. There is nothing that can replace having hands-on instruction from an experienced birth professional.
Four zoom meetings. This hybrid format means that students are not coming to in-person classes for six weeks in a row and can enjoy four classes from the comfort of their living room in their fuzzy pajamas or from somewhere else like work or out of town (or work out-of-town!).
A flipped classroom style of learning. Students learn content online and then participate in guided discussions during class time while getting their questions answered.
PRIZES! Who doesn’t love getting prizes? Incentive is a driving factor for lots of people to accomplish their goals. Prizes make it fun for the birthing person and partner alike to get those practice sessions in.
Bonuses! There is so much bonus content in this course that I simply can’t compare it to any birth class I’ve ever seen, and more is still being added! With all of the information available on the Internet it sure is nice to have curated content from a trusted source at your fingertips.
The feedback from couples who have taken the Evidence Based Birth®️ Childbirth Class has been outstanding. They report feeling a sense of accomplishment from having invested the time and effort in preparing for the arrival of their child. They also feel confident walking into the hospital for their birth. Couples who have taken this course benefited from an empowering birth experience and knew how to speak up to get the care that they wanted and deserved.
I’m very excited to offer the brand new Evidence Based Birth®️ Childbirth Class for the first time starting January 20th and am offering $25 off any level registration. Just use code INAUGURAL25 to get the discount. Follow this link to register by January 13th. https://ebbchildbirthclassbrighton.eventbrite.com.
To see classes available worldwide from other AMAZING Evidence Based Birth®️ Instructors, visit the calendar of events here.
Say you are in labor and your care provider (obstetrician or midwife) says they are going to use an intervention. You do not wish for this intervention to be performed, but they push back and tell you that it’s hospital policy, or *only* tell you the risks of not doing the intervention; or worse, they don’t say anything and start making threats. What can you do?
First let me say, as a laboring person you should not have to worry about getting non-evidence based care. Planning ahead and choosing a birth setting, care provider and model of care that aligns with your birth wishes can go a long way in preventing this situation from transpiring, but unfortunately it can *still* happen even with all the advance planning in the world.
That being said, here are some steps you can take:
Ask for the provider to walk you through the informed consent process. Your provider has a legal and ethical obligation to provide you with this process for any/all interventions. They must discuss with you the benefits, risks and alternatives to the intervention. This must include the benefits/risks of the alternatives, as well. They must also disclose what would happen if you did nothing. They must answer any question you may have.
Ask for some time to discuss the matter with your support person/people. This may include your partner, your doula, or any other person whom you have invited into your birth space. The person you talk with doesn’t have to be knowledgeable at all, really. The goal is just to see if you can buy yourself some time. If you are dealing with an emergency situation, you won’t have time to talk. If they give you time to talk, you know it’s not a real emergency.
Give your consent or refusal. If you give your consent and change your mind later, you can tell them you’ve changed your mind. it’s okay, it’s not a contract. You can revoke your consent.
If your provider makes threats or is combative and difficult to speak with despite your best efforts, you can ask for a new provider. You have the right to switch care providers (yes, even while you are in labor.) You can ask for another OB or midwife in the hospital to attend your birth. If you are in a birth setting where they do not have another provider available, you can ask for the patient advocate or chaplain. These individuals can serve as a mediator of sorts, to help facilitate communication between you and the care provider. This may seem extreme, but the alternative is checking out of the hospital against medical advice (AMA) and heading to a different hospital. It’s probably the last thing you want to do when you’re in labor, but it has been done.
This, of course, begs the question . . . What kind of threats could they make?
I’ve heard of providers threatening to call CPS on families who refuse to cooperate with their plan. This is mostly an empty threat because a.) CPS understands that you have the right to informed consent and refusal and b.) even though CPS is obligated to respond to the call, it doesn’t mean that anything will come of it.
Don’t buy the line about “it’s hospital policy”. Yea, it’s the care providers obligation to abide by hospital policy, but it’s not yours. Hospital policies are not laws, therefore you are under no obligation to follow them.
Recognize their humanity. Something that will make any situation a lot easier is to acknowledge that the people you are dealing with are just trying to do their job. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents . . . just like you and your family. They have job stress, life stress and family stress just like you. Acknowledge this to them. Say, “I understand you are just doing your job [say their name] and I appreciate that you are being thorough, but I do not consent to this.”
Start off on the right foot! Right when you get to triage and then again in L & D, introduce yourself, or have your partner/doula introduce themselves to the staff. Read their name tag, say their name when you introduce yourself, shake their hand. Thank them for supporting you/your partner. Ask them about their life outside of work, their job, their kids, anything . . . make small talk and tell them things about you outside of your exciting journey to becoming parents. Bring a little treat for the nurses station. You don’t have to go over the top, it can be candies or cookies or whatever. Gifts of food are a way to show them that you are thoughtful and kind. It’s a way to humanize them and yourself. Write your names on the gifts so they remember you/who they are from. You are building a little relationship with the people who are supporting you and you want them to consider your feelings/wishes/preferences if push comes to shove. This is more likely to happen if you’ve already made an impression that you are kind and thoughtful.
Do you have any other tips for handling a situation where your care provider disagrees with your choices during labor? Please leave a comment. Thanks!
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I am thrilled to offer the chance to win a $25 Amazon e-gift card to YOU when you refer a friend who registers for my upcoming Birth Prep Weekend workshop on October 27th & 28th in Brighton, MI. Just have your friend mention your name and email address when they register! Drawing will take place on October 28 and winner will be notified via email.
Thanks and good luck!
FOR EVENT DETAILS AND TO REGISTER: https://birthprepweekendworkshop.eventbrite.com
You know how when you start telling people that you are planning to give birth without pain medication, there are those special individuals who make it a point to say, “You don’t get an award for pushing your baby out without pain medication. Why bother?” Now, you can say, “Au contraire, mon frére! There IS an award! and I AM GOING TO GET ONE.”
You probably have learned that people can sometimes STINK at being supportive of your birth intentions (and there are likely a million possible reasons for this.) You are probably more aware than others of the risks of receiving pain medications routinely during labor, and that’s why you are trying to avoid it. But, it gets exhausting trying to justify wanting a natural birth and frankly, you don’t really owe them an explanation. That’s why I’ve made this award; for YOU — the mom who just wants to shut down the naysayers. You do your thing, mama!
We all know births don’t go according to plan, right? I’d love to see a shift away from calling the birth plan a birth plan and more towards something that allows for sharing our ideas about how we want our birth to go without the “commitment” of a plan.
The Problem with Birth Plans
One of the problems with birth plans is that they can be perceived by hospital staff as a setup for failure or disappointment. The joke is sometimes bandied about that the birth plan is a ‘ticket to the OR.’ I don’t think anyone who is planning a vaginal and/or unmedicated birth wants to invite that presumption to their birthing space. A slight change in our language can help hospital staff see what we hope for our birth experience while also showing them that we understand the situation is fluid.
I’ve also heard people call the birth plan their “Birth Preferences”. While this does acknowledge that birth is no place for a rigid plan, I think that the word ‘preferences’ is too non-committal for the hospital staff because preferences are perceived like this: I would *prefer* to have black olives on my pizza, but it’s okay if I don’t get them. Using preferences for your birth: I would *prefer* that you don’t stick your hand in my vagina, but it’s okay if you do.<—- That doesn’t work for a lot of reasons. But, the main reason I really don’t like the word “preferences” is because it gives the power to someone else.
Why We Should Call Them “Birth Intentions”
Showing up with your Birth Intentions conveys a few ideas. First, that you the birthing person are, in fact, the person with the power. You are asserting your autonomy. Second, it creates a space where you can say what you want about your birth without feeling guilty or disappointed if things go differently. Third, naming your birth intentions clarifies for your birth team what you expect to happen, unless you deem otherwise. Intentions are hopeful versus dictatorial (plans) or submissive (preferences).
So let’s say a few birth intentions together, shall we?
My Birth Intentions
i intend To receive my child skin-to-skin immediately after birth and remain this way for as long as we desire.
i intend To keep the umbilical cord attached and intact until it appears white, allowing my baby’s blood to return to their body from the placenta.
i intend To remain undisturbed during active labor unless I specifically ask for support or interventions.
i intend To labor and birth in any position that my body tells me.
Now, create your own Birth Intentions. You can do something as simple as changing the title of your document from “Birth Plan” to “Birth Intentions”. But, because I’m a fan of the law of attraction, I highly recommend trying to phrase your intentions in such a way that you are inviting them to happen. This has a way of shifting our mindset if we are in need of reclaiming our power.
I’d love to hear your birth intentions so please share in the comments if you’d like . It feels empowering to put them out in the world and inspires others to create their own.