Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a birthing class taught by the place in which I am birthing and an "out-of-hospital" or independent birth class?
This is a great question! Classes held by the place in which you are birthing are often focused on the information the client needs to have a birthing experience within the protocols of the birthing place. An independent birth class explores options, alternatives, and the rights of a laboring person and partner, helps expectant parents learn how to navigate through policies at their birthing place while getting what they want out of the experience and respecting the place in which they are birthing, and focuses on taking an active role in the decision making process. In Blossoming Bellies' classes, we also cover a lot of dynamic and extremely usable information that is not covered in hospital classes, such as pelvic bodywork and hands-on touch measures for comfort in labor and birth.
What is the difference between the one day (five hour) birth class and the 3 week birth class series (a total of six hours) that you facilitate?
The 3 week birth class series allows more time for reflection and discussion of class material and topics that may come to mind in between class times. Additionally, in the 3 week series, more time tends to be spent on guided relaxation techniques, birth videos, and partner exercises. Both classes cover knowing one's rights in the laboring room, informed decision-making, pelvic bodywork and optimal positioning of the baby for a smoother labor, the role of medical interventions, medical pain relief, the emotional and physical aspects of labor, avoiding unnecessary c-sections, and natural comfort measures for labor.
What is the difference between the 6 week birth class series (a total of 12 hours) and the 3 week birth class series (a total of 6 hours)?
Many people have this question! The 6 week series is more comprehensive than the 3 week series, covering in-depth nutrition and exercise, more writing and discussion exercises, guided relaxations, a few more birth videos, discussion of the extended postpartum, some infant care basics, and breastfeeding. The three week series is more condensed and does not cover these topics aside from the occasional time that someone asks a question or we are discussing them in relation to another topic. If you are interested in the shorter 3 week series but would like to cover breastfeeding and/or infant care, I do offer a separate Breastfeeding 101 class for $35 per couple and a separate Infant Care Basics class for $35 per couple.
Do your classes teach a method of birthing? Will you teach me how to give birth?
The childbirth education classes taught by Blossoming Bellies are based on Birth Works philosophies. Our classes encourage parents to tap in to the knowledge, that already exists within the body, of how to give birth. Expectant couples are supported in building confidence in their body's ability to labor and birth while being provided a variety of tools and comfort measures to help ease the process. Every person will labor differently; method classes often teach a way of birthing as "the right way" which can leave the birthing person and partner both feeling lost if those methods don't work when the time comes.
Success in birthing is defined differently for every person and it is important for a class to allow the space to be flexible in decision making without creating an atmosphere of judgment. Blossoming Bellies classes are based in research, which more often than not supports the natural birth process as safest for both mom and baby. That being said, the goal in our classes is to help couples feel empowered, confident, and prepared when moving towards labor. Feeling in control of the decision making process and confident in the body's ability to give birth can help set one up to feel positive about their birth.
The bottom line is that Blossoming Bellies classes will not teach people the "way" to give birth but will provide resources, tools, insight, guidance, questions, research-based learning, and hands-on measures to help expectant parents feel confident, prepared, and empowered through pregnancy, labor, birth, and beyond.
Does your Infant Care Basics class cover CPR?
Blossoming Bellies' Infant Care Basics does not cover CPR. However, Brittany strongly recommends that new parents take a CPR class. Infant CPR classes can be found at Pennsylvania Hospital, Jefferson Hospital, Lankenau Medical Center, Babies'R'Us, or by visiting the American Red Cross website.
If I have a doula, do I still need to take a childbirth class?
Many doulas strongly encourage their clients to take a birthing class, as the role of the childbirth educator varies from that of the doula. The certification process for childbirth educators is different than that of doulas, with a strong focus on understanding and analyzing research, facilitating the absorption of information in a class environment, and covering a comprehensive curriculum regarding the ins and outs of pregnancy, labor, and birth. Doula training is focused more on building relationships with clients, helping clients feel confident in the knowledge that they've gained from their classes, and supporting expectant couples through the emotional, informational, and physical processes of labor. Childbirth education classes prepare you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions with your care provider, formulate your birth wishes, understand the labor process, and become aware of resources, both internal and external, that can be used through pregnancy, labor, and postpartum. Generally speaking, doula services encourage you to take advantage of the information you've learned in the birth class and help you apply it to your birthing priorities and your birthing experience. Prenatal visits with the doula are spent getting to know one another, asking questions, and putting together your birth wishes.
How does the role of a doula differ from that of my partner?
Partners are in a very interesting position in providing support through labor. They are emotionally invested in the process and the outcome yet are often expected to have vast knowledge of the ins and outs of labor, medical intervention, and comfort measures. The emotional investment in their loved ones and their own personal feelings through the birth process can often make it difficult for partners to be as level-headed as would be ideal when it comes to supporting the birthing person and making decisions in labor. The doula provides a third-person perspective based in research and helps the laboring person and partner advocate for what they want in labor, while offering positional suggestions, hands-on comfort techniques, an unbiased listening ear, and a calm environment conducive to birthing. Unless it is desired by the laboring couple, a doula does not take the place of the partner but instead helps the partner feel more confident and prepared in supporting their loved one.
For the cost of a doula, I could redo my bathroom. Why should I spend that money on trained birth support?
The cost of a trained doula in Philadelphia ranges from as little as $200 to well over $1000. Many doulas will offer flexible payment schedules, options, and may even barter for services. That being said, the cost of a doula is well worth it! The doula helps not only safeguard the birthing space but helps build confidence, communication, and support between the laboring person and partner. Blossoming Bellies' doula support (and that of most other doulas) includes being on-call for several weeks at a time, providing prenatal and postpartum visits, email and telephone support, resources for pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, and research-based evidence.
Obstetrical benefits of doula support include:
* a significant decrease of about 45% in likelihood of cesarean section
* a significant decrease of 10 - 60% in mothers requesting an epidural
* a significant decrease of about 25% in the length of labor
* a significant decrease of 31% in the use of pain medication
* a significant decrease of 50% in the use of Pitocin
* a significant decrease of 34% in the number of forceps assisted births
(Kennell, Klaus and Klaus, 2002)
Research has also shown that having a doula present at your birth can increase feelings of attachment to your newborn, lead to easier management of the postpartum period, and aid communication between mother and baby. (Wolman, 1993.)