Considering enrolling in a DC area childbirth class outside of the hospital? Nice work! Hospital classes can be great for what they are, and there are certainly gifted and knowledgeable instructors who teach these classes. The problem is more in the format: most are one or two days only. My DC area childbirth class (taught in a cozy space in my home in Sterling, Va.) is a six-week series and each class is 3 to 3.5 hours each. This gives you a longer period of time (18 hours minimum over six weeks) in which to ingest the information, get to know your instructor and your classmates, ask questions, and grow an even stronger bond between you, your baby, and your partner.
Many of the independent childbirth classes are structured in this way for optimal learning and are based on the best available research. In a hospital class, routine birth policies (involving IV fluids and pain medications as well as other drugs) are going to influence in some way how the class is presented. My class in particular is the Hypnobabies curriculum. (Hypno-what? We’ll get to that in a moment.) Our curriculum stems from the powerful mind-body connection which can greatly influence the way we birth. In my class I give you the tools necessary to teach your mind how to work with your body’s natural ability to give birth. Is Hypnobabies for people who want to use epidurals? Although many of my students feel empowered to birth naturally with fewer or no medications, I will definitely say it’s a transformation — that many people don’t arrive at the first week of class with that idea completely solidified. And I will also say that some of my students knew all along they would likely opt for an epidural, but that they wanted a way to stay more calm and relaxed during pregnancy and early labor, allowing the body to begin the process in a spontaneous fashion. (So smart!)
My students continually amaze me with their smart approach to birth. They want to be prepared in a way which allows them to experience as much joy with their birthing process as possible, regardless of what choices that may mean along the way. As a doula to some of these students I’ve seen it all — from completely natural in a birthing tub — to a Cesarean birth with immediate skin-to-skin contact between mom and baby in the OR, and everything in between. And all of these individuals used their Hypnobabies tools successfully.
So what is the Hypnobabies method exactly? I’m so happy to be able to bring another childbirth class option to the DC area; this class is honestly one of the most comprehensive you could possibly take. As a sidenote, I’m so grateful to Hypnobabies, LLC for giving us not only with an ability to teach self-hypnosis for birth, but also preparing us to be the most knowledgeable childbirth educators you could find. This set of standards has created fulfillment in teaching as well as a number of additional opportunities.
For starters, we focus on: examining attitudes about birth in our culture, envisioning a better way for ourselves, embracing the power of birth, learning about the body’s natural ability and the stages of labor and what to expect during each, optimal positioning for your baby, optimal nutrition, exercise, and positions for optimal progression in labor, consumer choices (interventions) and benefits & risks of all, compassionate Cesarean and what that means for those birthing parents and babies who may need it, and so much more. We top it off with a “live” birth rehearsal where we practice all the techniques we’ve learned and send you off with a post-class schedule so that you can continue your practice every day until your baby is born. Oh, did I mention how involved the partners are in this class? Each of the six classes are designed to put dads/partners at ease and help them become more confident in their role and in how they can participate in keeping you more calm and comfortable.
All of this and I haven’t even touched yet on the techniques themselves. The toolbox you’ll be building is based on self-hypnosis. (All hypnosis is self-hypnosis; there really is no such thing as being hypnotized by another. As your instructor, I am merely a messenger and guide.) You always choose how deeply focused inward you would like to become and you always maintain the ability to speak and move around as much as you would like. In fact this is crucial to the success of the program. Birth is by nature is very active and babies emerge more quickly and comfortably when we have some freedom of movement, which can be achieved in a variety of ways.
As for that toolbox, in order to build it you will have 11 different tracks which you’ll download throughout the six weeks. You will follow a schedule as directed and be listening to the same track daily as well as one additional track as directed, and each has a specific purpose or teaches you something new, such as a technique you can use to bring yourself more comfort during birth a simple touch or word cue. (You’ll learn much more about how this works in week 1 of the class.)
The first time you hear each these scripts they will be read by me to you and your partners in class, and you will have materials to take home and work on until the next time we meet. Plan to spend about 40 minutes per day working on your studies if you want to maximize your ability to relax (helping you to sleep better during pregnancy!) and to maximize your ability to use these techniques effectively when the time comes for your baby to be born.
If you have any additional questions about this very fun and user-friendly DC area childbirth class, please get in touch. I’d be happy to chat with you to help you figure out whether Hypnobabies is a good match for your needs.