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Why Didn't Anybody Tell Me: Birthing Class

Why Didn't Anybody Tell Me: Birthing Class

Give me morning sickness or back labor, but there's no way I'm going back to birthing class. My first pregnancy was a breeze — the excitement of an impending baby and an ignorance that was bliss.

My days prior to motherhood didn't involve reading up on the latest autism statistics or bisphenol A scares. But I was a tad worried that the pain of childbirth would be similar to the sensation someone feels when eaten by a shark so I signed up for a birthing class.

For $350, my husband and I bought admission into the one day intensive labor prep our hospital offered. Armed with a small pad of paper, two pens and a sense of preparedness, we were shocked to find that other couples had set up camp in the sterile room.

The flier said to bring things to make ourselves comfortable, which is why I wore sweats, but these people practically pitched tents. They had laid their sleeping bags on the floor and packed enough snacks to get them through a natural disaster. To top it off, some husbands were in their pajamas.

To see what happened,


The instructor went through the basics of delivery and drug options, showed us textbook massage and breathing techniques and told us what to pack in our hospital bag. This is where the record scratched.

In addition to the old toothbrush and slippers, she added lasagna, other hearty prepared foods and a stock of beverages. Um, I was going in to have a baby, not a picnic. And, that aside who enjoys eating in hospitals? Evidently, I was the only one of that mind set as the other women were swapping recipes and figuring out cooler capacity.

That's when I took advantage of the best part of birthing class, the unlimited bathroom breaks and my ticket out of the insanity.

When I came back down the hall, the instructor had moved on to focal points, advising the ladies to bring pictures of their cats or whatever would help them during the delivery.

Then it was time to simulate birth. Though no one in the room had ever felt a real contraction, the teacher announced that they were coming and we should move and moan our way through them.

My classmates and their sidekicks sat with their legs open or in angled in a downward dog stance screaming. Spouses chimed in and the room echoed with the pangs of freaks impersonating false labor. I fell in a fit of hysterics and decided it was time for a permanent break from the madness and left.

Did anyone else have a ridiculous birthing class experience?

Join The Conversation
commonsense102 commonsense102 6 years
Silly! Was this offered through the hospital? $350 is alot of money for such nonsense. Our hospital offers classes $50 and it was great.
mjokisch mjokisch 7 years
I'm in a childbirth class right now with my husband, its designed for home births and birth center births with midwives. I always get there early so I can sit on the couch while everyone else sits in uncomfortable chairs. If someone's going to sit in it it might as well be me. I can't sit still in those stupid chairs. Everything is pretty bearable except the deep breathing exercises. They have us laying on our husbands with them supporting our weight, and after a few minutes my tailbone area is hurting like a ***** and I can't deep breathe or relax or think about anything other than getting up. So last class we left before that part of the evening started.
Jules1976 Jules1976 9 years
I went to the birthing class and it helped alleviate some of my anxiety, if only because it gave me an opportunity to meet some of the L and D staff and other expectant mothers. The thing that most surprised me, other than the cost, about your post was that they encouraged you to bring snacks when you went into labor. At the hospital where I delivered, they only allowed ice chips (not even actual liquids); if they have to do an emergency C-section, the staff doesn't want to have to worry about the woman getting sick and aspirating or choking on it. Also, just the act of pushing made me sick at my stomach, so in the end I was glad they wouldn't let me eat. Chalk up your experience to the adventure of becoming a mom. If there's a next time, you'll know better.
Sasha62 Sasha62 9 years
The various birthing courses where we lived when our first was born were all about $350 but were usually over about 4 to 6 weeks. My family was in favor of taking something to "be prepared" but as I was looking through the catalog I noticed my husband and I could take ground school (the first step towards getting a pilots license) for the same cost... so I figured lets do that instead- after all you're only in labor for a day (or so) and I had no qualms about having an epidural if the labor was too rough. Was a great decision and both my labors were pretty easy and enjoyable (thanks to the epidural). I know it's not PC to say this - but I really felt I got to enjoy both of the births more than a lot of my friends who were die hard about not taking any pain relief medication, as they were spending most of their time dealing with the pain and the emotional roller coaster of trying to hold out from asking for relief. When the contractions became unpleasant I asked for and got an epidural and than was able to enjoy the labor (you can still feel "everything", it just isn't painful) and focus on the delivery and birth instead. I also wasn't worn out afterwards so I could enjoy being with my sons more than if I had been exhausted from the delievery. I know it's not for everyone but I think too many people demonize the idea of not doing a "natural" labor and delivery- especially the first one. One class I would recommend is the Breastfeeding ones- they are usually a day and taught by a nurse/lactation specialist. Getting it right in the beginning can be a bit tricky, but having an idea before hand of "right" and "wrong" is much easier than learning it completely on the fly while you are still in a state of excited euphoria from the delivery.
remingtonray remingtonray 9 years
When I was pregnant with my first daughter I didn't know anything about being pregnant just that women have been having babies since people have been on the earth. So this was just as natural as anything was going to get. Once I understood I was having contractions, I called my doctor at 4:30 in the morning. He didn't think anything of it since I wasn't due until the end of the week, but told me to go to the hospital to get checked and that they would probably send me home. Got to the hospital, they checked me in, then the nurse turns to me and asked me did I take any breathing classes. I replied, 'No', women have been having babies since the beginning of time, besides aren't you going to tell me what to do?" She laughed at me and simply replied I guess we will. Well to make a long story short (which is too late), I had my daughter in 20 minutes with the nurse telling me exactly what to do. NO BIRTHING CLASSES NEEDED LADIES!! It's just another way for the hospitals to make money off of you. You have plenty of friends who can give you their experiences, etc. Just remember not all will go through the same thing. You don't need to spend money for someone to tell you that the pain you are experiencing is not real. Oh, it's real alright but it goes away immediately. Giving birth is a wonderful thing. It's even better when you don't take the shot!!
partyof6 partyof6 9 years
My hubby and I ditched our $20 two day birthing class after the showing of an instructional video for the Hill-Rom hospital bed. It was like a sales video and although this was my first baby and while I knew I would be using a hospital bed during my stay at the hospital, I was pretty sure I did not need special instruction regarding the finer details of the bed. I have since had three more children (includes preemie twins, an adventure all it's own )and heres the thing, I never felt prepared enough. Honestly, giving birth is painful, manageable, but still uncomfortable. And seriously when was the last time you forgot to breathe (especially when there are two nurses and a doctor reminding you to)? I think parenting classes are probably more useful than birthing classes.
Mishell Mishell 9 years
I'll be taking Hypnobirthing classes. It's 4 2 1/2 hour classes. They give all kinds of information. The idea is to inform you of the way your body works so when the time comes you will not have any fear, therefore the body will be relaxed and you will be able to birth the baby without "pain". PS: Hypnobirthing does encourage eating during labor to keep your energy up.
babysugar babysugar 9 years
Hilarious. I agree that the class was probably not mandatory but glad we did it. Ours was not nearly as intense or insane!
goldie10x goldie10x 9 years
I loved my class and I think it really helped me prepare for a natural birth. We took Bradley classes and it was 12 weeks long, which was a lot, but totally worth it. It was $200, and I learned so much, and so did my husband. To simulate contractions, and how to block out pain, we practiced it by holding ice cubes. When you have to hold an ice cube for 60 seconds, it gets a little uncomfortable. It helped me so much and I'd highly recommend it.
jennifer76 jennifer76 9 years
I've had two babies and I've never taken a class. Yours almost sounds worth it for the entertainment value, though! :P They always sounded like a waste of time, to me. I read quite a bit in preparation. And as far as the actual mechanics of the delivery went, I figured there would be some experts there... :rotfl:
Rachie-Vegas Rachie-Vegas 9 years
I'm so glad that my class was only about 4 hours, and it wasn't all psycho sounding, haha. I can't believe that birthing classes can get that expensive, either - mine was free. I wish I were able to take snacks or something, or at least Gatorade, but ice chips it is. :(
Annika2494003 Annika2494003 9 years
I think reading books or perusing the internet are good tools to get prepared, but even with the funky experience we had, I would totally recommend taking a class. I truly don't think I needed one, but it was really great for my husband to understand what goes on. I think he feels more connected to the process now and feels like he has a 'job' to do in the delivery room — taking care of me. Plus it felt like we were trapped in an 80s sitcom and was completely funny. I think it raised his dad-cred.
LiLRuck44 LiLRuck44 9 years
I would've been in a complete fit of laughter too! I didn't take a class, I knew from reading what to expect physically so I thought I'd figure out the rest when I got there. Everything went quick and smooth and I definitely wasn't thinking about breathing.
Gossamer Gossamer 9 years
Birthing Class? I always felt those were the stupidest things in the world. I would think its like walking, hard at first but with parents around it can be learned without a class because it is what women naturally do. Are they actually helpful because I would assume a talk with your mother will cover all the basics to child birth at a much lower cost. Price of coffee maybe? Does anything they ever tell you make the pain less?
schnappycat schnappycat 9 years
$350?!! That's crazy! Our classes were about $35 each. I didn't take the childbirth one because it sounded ridiculous (I took infant CPR) and it wouldn't have helped at all. I had drugs and really couldn't care a less if I got a hospital tour. And books helped with the rest.
faerymagick15 faerymagick15 9 years
oh yeah...I didn't have to pay for the class either, that kinda threw me for a loop. It was free as are the breastfeeding classes at the hospital too.
fashionhore fashionhore 9 years
From what I have read right now, and to what my aunt told me, I will not be wasting my precious pre-baby time or money on any type of birthing class out there. Books and the internet are pretty sufficient and every female but me has had a child, so I have resources.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
ours were really great. they were a series and we met twice a month for several weeks and went over different things. 2 couples brought snacks every week (we rotated) and i'm still friends with 2 of the women. i knew just what to expect and our instructor was there for my delivery (she was on duty, not planned). she had us hold ice cubes and try the breathing to relax and breath through the pain. it was only like $100 too.
Annika2494003 Annika2494003 9 years
This is hysterical! We just went to a class last weekend and had a similar experience. We waltzed in with each other when everyone else had special pillows/foot rests/blankets. We thought we missed a memo. Our teacher gave us 'contractions' by making us stick a clothespin onto our earlobe and breathe through it. The men in the class had 'contractions' on their ears too. The funny thing is that we watched a video of a 1980s Jersey couple going through the labor process and when things got rough, the hubby held up a pic of "bingo" the cat to help her focus. Absolutely hysterical that anyone would calm down by focusing on their cat. (although I am not a cat person, so maybe I'm off-base here)
We also had a 19 year old girl in our class who kept taking smoking breaks (which broke my heart), ate cheetos and fruit roll-ups, and burped throughout the class. Quite classy! Awesome post Lil! Totally true! And worth it if only for the comedic experience.
gossipqueen7 gossipqueen7 9 years
um yeah thats why i didnt pay for a birthing class my opinion they are a waste of money, and thats all everyone who took one told me so we avoided them ...i read up on labor and breathing on and in "what to expect when you are expecting book" ...they were sufficient enough
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
When I'm pregnant I want to go to a class like that purely for the entertainment value!
nicole121482 nicole121482 9 years
Mine was rather similar, only add to that videos of women going through the birthing process and dear lord how they were screaming...made me just a tad more top it all off, my Mom was my birthing partner...and there was NO WAY I was going to wind up sitting in a position with her legs wrapped around me! I never used a single breathing technique during my labor...the only thing I really needed to know was how to say, "Drugs PLEASE!!" I would never, ever pay to go to one of those again if should have another child....POINTLESS!!
jopperma jopperma 9 years
I have never had a baby, so maybe I am missing something... but lasagna?! Really?? The thought of pushing a child from my uterus and then eating a big slice of lasagna is horrific to me.
Dbtabm Dbtabm 9 years
$350 for a birthing class? That's the most ridiculous part. We had a whole day class and it was provided free for anyone giving birth at our hospital. That's what all the hospitals in my area do. Our instructor/nurse was great and so knowledgeable. The best part was getting to take a tour of the maternity ward, it made everything much less scary.
luckyme luckyme 9 years
Mine wasn't like that either. Don't get me wrong though, I'd never do it again. I didn't feel it prepared me for labor at all. I read so much prior to labor that I basically knew what I was in for, I felt the class was redundant. Also, no matter how prepared you think you are, you'll be thrown for a loop when labor actually happens. My examples: Induction and my daughters heart rate dropping when I was throwing up in the midst of it all. I hadn't prepared myself for those curve balls and no class was going to prepare me for them either.
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