Preparing for Birth: Childbirth Education in NYC
Thursday night CiC hosted its “Preparing for Birth: Childbirth Education in NYC” workshop for dozens of expecting parents. Facilitators Milon Nagi and Bonu deCaires did a bang up job of helping curate a panel of new moms and expert childbirth educators from different fields. We’re grateful to our speakers Whitney, Rich, Denise, Deirdre, and Robin for making time in their busy schedules, coordinating baby and childcare logistics, teaching responsibilities and host of other tasks to be there.
Attendees heard from Whitney and Rich first, who had been in the audience just a year ago as first time expecting parents, and were now happy to introduce their 8-month old daughter to the crowd. Whitney had a beautiful vaginal breech delivery thanks to months of intense preparation through her Bradley method class. She shared how she found her Bradley class, her doula, and eventually her new OB just one week shy of her due date. Having attended a CiC workshop months before, she also knew that switching providers was an option, all the way up until the end. With the prospect of a cesarean birth if she didn’t switch doctors, she went with an OB who would give her a great shot at a vaginal birth. Bradley class gave this couple the nuts and bolts of childbirth, so they could enter the experience free of fear.
Denise, a self-described avid researcher and analyst (married to another such person!), learned about doulas through her readings early in pregnancy. Though it took some convincing to get her husband to agree, the couple met a doula they loved who also taught childbirth education classes as weekend intensives. She was a CEA/MNY teacher with a Lamaze and Hypnobirthing training. Denise integrated so many new techniques into her toolbox, from mantras she picked up from books and even nurses (“The mind is one of the most important muscles in birth.”) to pelvic floor relaxation from her physical therapist, to optimal nutrition in her childbirth class. While having her water break early and being told she needed Pitocin was not part of her plan, Denise powered through and had the unmedicated delivery that was so important to her.
Deirdre McLary, a Birthing From Within childbirth education instructor, led participants through a brief birth art activity of drawing a labyrinth (see photo). She explained how birth involves more of the right brain even though most education tends to focus on the left brain – the more analytical side. Full of humor, art and movement, Deirdre left the group with the sense that they have every reason to trust their bodies, and be a little bit more like “cave women”.
Robin Douthit beautifully closed out the night with a history of Lamaze, correcting the all-too-common misunderstanding that this form of childbirth education is still a patterned breathing method. Walking the group through the six healthy birth principles of Lamaze and inviting participants to stand up, move their hips, and experience what gravity would do for them in labor, it was the perfect taste of what a great, comprehensive childbirth education class should include.
You can learn more about all of the childbirth education methods and philosophies discussed last night here: