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Does anyone have any good natural childbirth classes to recommend?
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Yes! Lucy Brosgart, Inner Compass Childbirth Services. https://innercompassbirth.com/childbirth-education-classes/
I just finished the 5-week class, which majorly surpassed all expectations and truly helped us (and several other expectant couples who are now friends) prepare for childbirth. Lucy is a licensed midwife and has the perfect know-how, experience, and disposition to teach these classes. It was worth it. I highly recommend it.
For those looking for natural childbirth classes, I highly recommend Kathy Woo’s Hypnobirthing classes: www.kathywoo.com. Hypnobirthing offers a comprehensive approach to natural childbirth and incorporates a variety of techniques, all aimed at managing pain without medication: specific breathing routines, relaxation methods, visualization, affirmations, labor positions, etc. Kathy presents the material in a very clear, well outlined, and easy to follow manner. Her delivery is calm and positive. Her classes include materials (a book, handouts, diagrams, cd, etc.), videos, demonstrations and practice sessions. After completing her class, I felt confident, empowered (armed with the knowledge and tools I needed), as well as relaxed and mentally prepared for labor.
In order to get the full benefit of Kathy’s classes, I recommend taking them the second trimester of pregnancy, as there is quite a bit of material to review and practice on your own after the classes are completed. The more you review and practice, the more the techniques will become second-nature for you. During my pregnancy, I used the relaxation and breathing techniques to relax. And, now that my baby is born, I use the relaxation techniques to calm myself in the middle of the day so that I can nap. I plan to use many of Kathy’s Hynobirthing techniques throughout my life in order to maintain a more relaxed state of mind.
I wasn’t able to fully “Hypnobirth” my baby (i.e. get myself into such a state of relaxation that I felt no pain, as well as breathe my baby out rather than push). I did feel pain and I did push in labor. However, I was able to relax enough and use the breathing techniques to deliver vaginally without pain medication. This was all I wanted, and it was intensely meaningful and rewarding.
Every labor is unique, and it is important to keep an open mind. I delivered at Kaiser Oakland which was a fantastic experience. I also took their free childbirth classes which educated me on the stages of labor, how to manage at home while in early labor, when to go to the hospital, possible pain medication and induction methods (if needed). As an older mom, I ended up being induced so as not to go beyond my due date (which can be dangerous for the baby as the placenta begins degrading quicker in older moms). I was very reluctant to be induced as it contradicted my desire for natural childbirth, but of course, my baby’s health came first. Kaiser was great and they induced me slowly so that I was still able to deliver naturally.
Stay calm and positive, take Kathy Woo Hypnobirthing classes, and keep an open mind. Motherhood is the most amazing experience of my life. It has far exceeded any joy I could possibly imagine!
I recommend the classes at Loving Arms Childbirth Services. I am a doula who has sat in on their classes. The teachers are wonderful with years of experience teaching Childbirth classes, breastfeeding & postpartum, as well as training doulas. The class has a big emphasis on techniques for working with your labor naturally--breathing, vocalizing, massage, positioning, etc.
If you live in the Oakland area, you might try Then Comes Baby: http://then-comes-baby.com/ I think that they are adding Hypnobirthing classes later in the year, but check in with them to be sure.
There is also a home birth class taught in Oakland by Tabitha of Bay Area Birth Support: http://bayareabirthsupport.com/classes/