'If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we

"If we hope to create a non-violent world where respect and kindness replace fear and hatred, we must begin with how we treat each other at the beginning of life. For that is where our deepest patterns are set."
suzanne arms

1. What should I look for when choosing a childbirth educator?

*Who sponsors the classes?
*How many classes are there in a series?
*Can you visit a class before you decide?
*How long is each class?
*How many couples are in each class?
*Can you bring more than one support person or come alone?
*What type of learning techniques are used?
*What topics are covered?
*Can the instructor provide references?
*Where are the classes held?
*What do you need to bring?
*Is the instructor certified or affiliated with any organization?
2. What questions should I ask when choosing a doula?
When exploring the use of a doula plan to visit with them over the phone and set up a consultation visit to get to know each other.  You want to use the person that you are able to relax with and trust.  Here are some questions you may want to ask.  Trust your heart and you can't go wrong! 

*What training have you had?  Are you certified?
*How many births have you attended?
*Do you have references I may contact?

*Why did you decide to become a doula?
*Have you worked with our provider?  At our hospital?
*How do you see your role?

*May we meet to discuss our birth plans and the role you will play in supporting me through childbirth?
*May we call you with any questions/concerns both before and after the birth?
*When will you join me in labor?
*What postpartum services do you offer?
*Do you work with one or more back up doulas for times when you are not available? May we meet them?  Choose our own?
*Do you have an all-inclusive fee or by the hour?
*What are your fees and refund policies?


Why should I take a childbirth class?

Childbirth classes are a place to ask questions, gather information, and to socialize with other pregnant women and their families. Recent studies in medical literature have upheld the benefits of childbirth education. Here are some topics that should be covered... 

Learn how to make pregnancy more comfortable.
Get answers to common questions and information about concerns.
Learn about prenatal development. 
Learn about danger signals in pregnancy. 
Learn about pregnancy and how your life is affected. 
Learn about premature labor and how to prevent it. 
Learn how to involve your family in your pregnancy and birth.
Learn good communication skills and birth plans. 
Learn how to tell if this is labor. 
Learn about support options (doulas).
Learn what to expect during labor and birth. 
Learn about pain relief options. 
Learn about caring for your new baby. 
Learn about the benefits of breastfeeding and how to get started. 
Learn infant stimulation and development techniques. *Childbirth.org


Will a doula be able to help me if I am planning to use an epidural?

Absoluetely! A women with an epidural still needs and deserves sensitive and appropriate labor support, because emotional distress and anxiety do not necessarily go away when pain is alleviated. A doula can minimize many of the undesirable effects of the epidural. She still provides emotional support, reassurance and information. She helps the woman remain focused on her labor and her baby. She helps the woman get into favorable positions and to push appropriately during the second stage. The doula's role is still to nurture and protect the woman's memory of the birth, and also to help ensure a vaginal birth. John Kennell's recent study found that even when the use of epidural anesthesia is very high, the presence of a doula reduces the cesarean section rate, which otherwise tends to be higher when an epidural is used.  She can also provide written account of the experience, take photos, get breastfeeding off to a great start and offer postpartum support.

5. I am planning a non-medicated birth. What can I do to prepare?

The two greatest things you can do to prepare is to hire a doula and take an independent childbirth class. This combination will inform you of all your options surrounding pregnancy, labor, birth and life with baby. You will be able to practice different comfort positions, learn about different labor scenerios and how to work with them, practice a lot of relaxation exercises since this is truly the key to labor. You will explore both the physical and emotional sides to labor. By having an indepth knowledge of the natural birth process you can be confident in your body's ability to give birth. By hiring a doula you and your partner can enter labor together knowing that you don't have to remember everything from class and can work together with helpful advice and information from your doula. Your doula can serve as a liason between you and your caregivers, explain things as the are happening, and be the guardian of your birth values and experience. Natural birth is an empowering, exhilarating, hard experience that absolutely can be acheived.  Surround yourself with positive affirmations and birth stories to stay in a positive state of mind.


If I already took a class with my first baby do I need a refresher class?

A refresher class is a great time to reflect on your previous birth experiences to explore what worked and what didn't work. You will continue to process that memory as your own unique experience that cannot be duplicated. If there were unexpected outcomes it is important to address them again before this labor. Likewise, if it was a great birth experience it may help to reacquaint yourself with information regarding different birthing experiences so that you refresh your knowledge of different comfort positions and options. Also, options change so very much in such a short amount of time it is nice to get current information that you may not know is available for you. You will also learn valuable hints about introducing a baby into the family, curbing sibling rivery and renegotiating household expectations. You might also want to consider hiring a doula to provide continuous physical and emotional support throughout labor and in the postpartum period.


My schedule doesn't allow me to take 4 weeks of childbirth classes. What can I do?

You might consider taking private classes. These class are held in your home around your schedule. Private classes allow for an individualized class where you can ask questions, explore personal history and finish in a much shorter time. These are a great option for those with changing schedules, on bed rest, or just want the privacy and flexibility of personal classes.


My partner is squemish and doesn't really want to go to childbirth class with me. What should I do?

Rest assured that this is more common than you may think. I always encourage partners to at least go to the first class. There they will usually see that everyone else brought a partner. Since my classes are small, the overwhelming feeling is usually not an issue. No one has to talk or participate if they don't want to. A lot of information is gained by simply observing. A common finding is that the other partners are just as nervous. I am always pleasantly surprised when some of the most reluctant partners turn out to be the most involved in class.  If, on the other hand, your partner doesn't come around, it is very important for you to find another support person, a doula, a friend, a relative who will be able to give you unconditional support and bring them to class with you. A great option even if your partner does go to class with you. You can never have enough love and support during this special journey. Everyone on your team should know how important this is to you and how thankful you are to have them with you to share in this moment.

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