Birthing Classes Are a Big Waste of Time

pregnant womanWhen I was pregnant with my first child, I was determined to have a natural, drug-free childbirth. So I decided my husband and I should take Bradley Method Birthing Classes.

And so, every Saturday during college football season, we sat with our instructors in our family room for three hours, watching all sorts of ridiculously outdated videos, completing homework about cervix size, and planning every single aspect of my birth.

Even though I did end up having a drug-free birth, all I could think about during my few lucid hours after my baby was born was why the heck I spent so much time in those stupid classes.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not knocking birth classes. In fact, I'm not even knocking Bradley Method Birth Classes (but update your materials, people!).

Mostly, I'm just knocking my own stupidity for spending so much time and energy thinking and planning the BIRTH of my child, rather than learning about what to do after she arrived.

Yes, there were the few sessions spent on changing a doll's diapers, which I already knew how to do anyway. And there was lots of time spent on how to breastfeed.

But the rest of time was spent on my cervix dilation, and how my husband could support me during labor and transition, which, yay, I'm so glad that I knew about that except since my daughter was sunny side up until the last moments before pushing, my whole labor felt like transition.

And all those great breastfeeding tips? Well they didn't work because I had a foremilk imbalance.

I'm not saying all the information about birth wasn't valuable, but quite frankly, I could have done with just a few classes on breathing and the "hows" of birth with the rest of the time spent on how to actually take care of a baby.

Hire a doula if you want a natural child birth. Then take some classes on the more important part: PARENTING.

I'm an educated person who worked with children for most of my life, yet I felt completely and utterly helpless with my daughter. I had absolutely no clue what to do with her.

So sure, take your birthing classes. But do yourself a favor and take some parenting classes too. Because that labor and delivery part is over pretty quickly. But the kid part? Well, that lasts forever.

Were you glad you took birthing classes?

 

Image via © iStock.com/mofles

3rd trimester, c-sections, birth stories, delivery, homebirth, labor & delivery, labor

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jalaz77 jalaz77

No. Hire a doula is correct.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Oops wasn't done. Take exercise and diet classes. Those are a little more important.

Choco... Chocodoxies

I have always gotten a kick out of the time people spend preparing for childbirth. We are talking a few hours of your life which, though memorable, are quick and fleeting and one way or the other you are going to be handed a baby. Interestingly, most people I have talked to have come home with their newborn and been completely at a loss for what to do next. Crib or bassinet or parents bed? Swing or bouncer? Onesie or footie? Swaddle or no swaddle? I think a class on just how difficult it will be at 3am on day five would be much more beneficial. While dad is walking into walls and mom is crying with the baby it would be so helpful to know that this was exactly what you should expect and your child is not abnormal... and neither are you. 

Emmie25 Emmie25

I took a birthing class with my first one but I agree I fifnt know what the heck to do when we brought him home. However, I wish my husband would go back and take the class. He is the WORST birthing partner. My mom and s.i. l. had to make him get up and help me with number three. Now number 4 is on the way and I think it'll be easier to just not have him in the room.

JessL... JessLogansMommy

There are a lot of people who are clueless when it comes to childbirth, particularly expectant fathers.  Unless he's read every book and paid attention then he's not going to have a clue as to dilation, effacement, episiotomies, vacuum assistance and so on.  Its good to know what all these things are to make the situation a little less scary should problems arise.  I had to field several questions from my husbands co-worker and his girlfriend just before their recent birth because they had no clue what the doctor was talking about. 

Evaly... EvalynCarnate

I spent a lot of time reading...and took a couple classes on actually caring for a baby, but I never had a birth "plan" per se. My first one was an emergency c-sec and the second was a planned c-sec but turned into an "emergency" when my BP went all wonky. I say, its ok to have a plan, just be willing to go with the flow..

nonmember avatar Dee

I actually learned a lot that ended up saving me an episiotomy. It wasn't nearly that many hours though. Mine was totally worth it.

butte... butterflyfreak

Chocodoxies- very well said. Those first couple of weeks can be hell and it's really hard for some people who have only ever seen the sunshines-and-rainbows side of newborn parenting and go into it thinking that those first few weeks are going to be some kind of idyllic wonderful experience. The truth is, Mom's hormones are all out of whack, Baby's been forced out of a nice, warm, dark environment where everything was instant and on-demand and Dad's wandering around dumbfounded and awed by the fact that he IS a father. And that's just for first time parents! I'm sure there's an even greater dynamic when you add in older siblings. It's a wonder any of us make it out alive those first few weeks. My daughter was a wonderfully easygoing baby when she was first born and it was still pretty rough for us, exactly for the reasons I described above, plus I was recovering from a C-section.

nonmember avatar Dalyce

My husband and I LOVED our Bradley Method classes. Our first was a high risk hospital birth. Our second was almost born in the car on the way to the hospital. Our third was a planned home birth. And my husband learned how to be an AMAZING coach!

The "hours" spent learning about how to work with her labor is WHY she was able to have the natural birth that she was "determined" to have. It is a child-BIRTH class, NOT a child-PARENTING class. And yes, Bradley Method does encourage parents to take a "parenting" class and there is a whole class about newborns and why they cry & how to stop the crying. The breastfeeding portion of classes are geared toward giving general info about NORMAL feeding, not the various difficulties that may come up. The teacher gives resources on how to identify those variations and who to get appropriate help. Again, it's a BIRTH class, not a FEEDING class. (Parents are encourage to attend Le Leche League meetings for more extended info on breastfeeding.) Haha - hire a doula! (Yes, but, the amount of success that the couple will have in achieving their goal of a spontaneous, non-medicated, vaginal birth, largely depends on how much time they have spent practicing techniques together prior to "the big day".) In the end... she does say, 'TAKE A CLASS'!! She's quite the creative writer who is successful at grabbing attention- she knew how to pick a "shocking" headline and "hook-em" intro paragraph, and concludes by contradicting herself.)

nonmember avatar Karena

I think that birth preparation is very important.

But not just about the birth, but what your rights options and choices for childbirth are (rather than the ones the hospital is willing to tell you about).



Those mum that did not educate themselves, and believed the hospital will 'take care of them' only to find themselves in the fog of birth trauma for years..... THOSE mothers would not say birth classes are a waste of time.

You think being a new mum is hard? You are right, it is.

Now try doing that after the most traumatic experience you have ever had, where you thought you might die, or your baby might die, or every one walked talked and did things to you and around you, but not *with* you or your permission. Imagine trying to be loving and nurturing when you have flashbacks, panic attacks, nightmares and grieving illness leading up to that baby's birthday....



Your blog is a half thought out.

If you weren't ready to be a parent, with all the combined hardships and joys that entails, then maybe you shouldn't have gone through with the pregnancy.

But telling mums that birth education is a waste of time is, in my opinion, irresponsible and thoughtless...

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