Thoughts after first birthing class

By kate on January 18th, 2006

We attended our first (of six) birthing classes tonight, at the home of our instructor, Penny Simkin. She’s been a childbirth educator for almost forty years, taught almost ten thousand women/couples, and literally wrote the book on it all. We got a copy of that book, as well as a book she wrote for birth partners, as part of the class. There were eight couples total in the class; all were man/woman pairs ranging from about 25 to 35 (I’d guess).
When we went around the room introducing ourselves, I was surprised to find that many of them have an earlier due date than me (by weeks), and yet I had the biggest belly in the room. I was hoping that being in a group of other pregnant women would make me feel less self-conscious and huge, but disappointingly, it didn’t.
The class was good, though, and we’re looking forward to the rest. Penny is very knowledgeable and experienced, and yet doesn’t have a rigid method of doing things. She’s tuned into what makes each woman’s birth different, and encouraged us to find what works for us. Among other things, we learned about the anatomy of the pelvis (and how squatting can help to open it), and watched a video of a birth. It was interesting to watch the video, and I’m looking forward to seeing more, since I haven’t witnessed a birth myself. All the births you see in TV and movies are a stereotypical screaming woman in stirrups at a hospital, which will probably not be the same as my experience.
One of the surprising things from the video was that the woman had chosen not to “push”. Apparently, the uterus is pushing on its own already, and the woman doesn’t necessarily have to. Many women have an irresistible instinct to push, but not all. Not pushing can make the labor take longer, but can also prevent injury and tears by giving the tissues time to stretch.
We both have homework this week – reading some chapters in our respective books. I’m also supposed to practice squatting and do cat stretches.

Filed under: learning, pregnancy
« Hello from Portland Baby Names »

Leave a Comment