Fear Prolongs Labor – Childbirth Classes Lessen Those Fears

This article from CNN
“We have a society where sensationalism sells. They’re pounded with information [about] things that can go wrong with childbirth. Of course you develop fears.”

The fear of the unknown can be so powerful. Kitsap Mothers-to-be are no different. They hear horror stories from well-meaning girlfriends and even strangers in the grocery store!

The popularity of reality television adds flame to the fire with the addition of dramatic music and lighting on programs like, “BirthDay” and “One Born Every Minute”  Our community also has the factor of Navy dependents who are often very young, here for only a short time and separated from their families who might do quite a bit to ease the fears if they were nearby.

We know that the tools women gather in prenatal classes alleviate much of the fear of the unknown.Thirty years ago, most expectant mothers attended birthing classes. She learned how the changes in her body meant baby was healthy and growing, how baby receives nutrition by the foods mother consumes.  The signs and symptoms of labor, and what works to reduce discomfort and even the very real pain of contractions once active labor begins.

Upon completion of her birth class series, she had several coping skills for comfort and the confidence to know that labor and birth were a normal and natural function of her body.

We live in a different time. Today’s woman is both expecting a baby *and* busy! She’s much less likely to be a “stay at home partner”  and more likely to work outside the home to contribute to the family finances. Many times this means the couple work different schedules and precious little time off together.

In our area there are limited birthing class choices. Hospital based classes are rigidly scheduled in hopes that most couples can make them work. There are also independent birthing class series which last anywhere from 6-12 long weeks.  These options are just not in the stars for the average busy working family and so too often, birth classes are being sacrificed… and so begins the fear factor.

Independent childbirth educators realize this. We’ve seen the drop in attendance and have been concerned.

One of the newest and best ideas hoping to change the trend is the “Weekend Birth Class Retreat”  A full class series together with one last  romantic getaway for the couple. The couples arrive on a Friday evening and leave *finished*  and confident  on Sunday afternoon without having put a wrinkle in their work schedules. The mothers form bonds with one another and the fathers leave with skills from labor support to diaper changing! Couples replace the fear of the unknown with questions and answers, laughter and friendship.

Dalai Mama Pregnancy Support Services offers this retreat at Cedar Cove Inn twice yearly. November and May