All public and private hospitals offer expecting parents antenatal or childbirth education classes. With my first baby in 2011 I attended a 2 hour antenatal class for 3 consecutive weeks at a large public hospital. So the total duration of the course was 6 hours- didn’t seem like a lot of “prep” for someone who hadn’t had a baby before but I was eager to learn. The classes were full, probably approximately 20 people, so not a lot of opportunity to get to know your classmates. So what exactly do I recall about these classes? My only vivid memory from these classes is an epidural needle being passed around and the midwife saying “you don’t want one of these, they hurt!”. They also had forceps, IV fluids and a ventouse. Come to think of it, there was a lot of focus on the medical interventions that could be used which was funny since we were all planning on natural births in the birth centre. Scare tactic maybe?
The classes went quickly and were taught by the midwives that worked in the hospital so some were not overly familiar with the format of information they had to teach. Did I find the classes helpful? Some of it, such as where to park the car and when to contact the hospital when you were in labour. It was also a chance to ask any questions. The rest was really a blur of games and group activities but I’m sure there was lots of useful information, if only I could remember it!
So what did I do the second time round?
I’m definitely not knocking these classes as all “knowledge is power” and learning this information helps in making informed decisions in birth and there is also hospital procedures that you need to know about. However it took a “traumatic” birth experience for me, ending in an emergency caesarean, and isolation from my baby after birth to search for a way that I could have felt informed and empowered during birth. I feel that taking private childbirth education classes like Hypnobirthing will enable the mother and birthing partner to be fully prepared for birth and any turn it takes. These classes teach what I feel really matters; the knowledge and tools to have a positive and calm birth.
The Hypnobirthing Australia program is a comprehensive antenatal program that includes the father or birth partner as an integral part of the learning process. These courses are also taught by certified Hypnobirthing Practitioners over a 12 hour period. There are many types of private childbirth education classes available and all are beneficial in educating expectant parents about labour, pain relief and decision making. But if you want to go beyond this, get educated and learn the tools to know how have an empowering and positive birth experience, consider Hypnobirthing for your next birth! I did for my second birth, and by utilising the techniques I had learnt I found that the idea of pain relief did not even cross my mind. I also felt educated in making choices regarding my birth preferences. I changed hospitals at 34 weeks so I could use water and labour in a bath! I definitely wouldn't have had the confidence to get the birth I wanted the second time round without hypnobirthing. I can also honestly say it was the most empowering experience of my life!!
Birth Guru Jenny Blyth and I at her "Amazing Space" workshop.
Hi, I'm Sam. I'm a Hypnobirthing Australia practitioner, Clinical Nurse, wife and mother of two. I'm passionate about all things to do with birth and have a strong interest in perinatal mental health and birth trauma. I would love to support you on your journey towards a positive birth!