Are Lamaze Classes Necessary?
Lamaze class. Labor and delivery class. Everyone has a different name for it. And everyone also has differing opinions on whether or not it’s necessary. Some people say you absolutely have to take the class. Others say it’s not worthwhile, because ultimately you’re going to do whatever you want during labor. My husband and I opted to take one at the hospital where our baby will be delivered. I in no way thought that this was going to make the process of labor and delivery any easier, but we took it so that we would know what to expect to some degree and to give ourselves some peace of mind.
The Benefits of Labor & Delivery Class
Overall, the class did a great job in setting expectations for the big event. I feel much more confident not only in knowing what to expect during labor, but also in knowing where exactly to go in the hospital when the day comes. There were two parts of the class I found most valuable. One was going through the stages of labor. Having never gone through this process before, I had no idea that there were three stages to labor. More importantly, though, I didn’t know that you actually don’t rush to the hospital during early labor at the first sign of contractions, as this process can take six to twelve hours. I feel pretty confident in saying that this probably saved us an unnecessary panicked trip to the hospital.
The other part I found valuable was going over the differences between opting for an epidural and choosing to forego it. Before the class, I had made up my mind on this and had never really considered the alternative – I was definitely getting an epidural. I wasn’t interested in signing up for more pain than was absolutely necessary. This class did not change my mind, but it was still interesting to see the pros and cons of each. We were able to watch videos of two births – one with an epidural and one without – and see how the processes differed. Choosing to forego the epidural certainly looked more painful, but choosing to have it can lead to a slowing down of labor and more “interventions” needing to be used. Even though I’m still opting for an epidural, I found it valuable to be more educated on the two choices.
While I definitely found the class to be worthwhile, my husband and I walked away with two different reactions and states of mind. My husband thought it was great. He even stated that he thought it should be a requirement for anyone who is having a baby. I would describe his state of mind as confident, happy and excited. Please note that he also does not have to push a human out of his body.
I, on the other hand, walked away feeling very anxious. I actually cried when we got home. I can attribute some of my tears to pregnancy hormones. The remaining tears I can attribute to fear and feeling unprepared. While the class actually made me feel better about labor, it made me dread the aftermath. I knew that that part wouldn’t be pretty, but I don’t think I understood how ugly it can actually be. I suppose it’s better to walk into it knowing what to expect rather than walking into it blindly, though. As for feeling unprepared, our instructor’s mention of having your hospital bag ready and the car seat properly installed in the car resulted in panic for me. “We don’t even have the car seat yet!” I tearily told my husband. Granted, this is at 32 weeks, so the time to prepare is still there. But I wasn’t exactly thinking rationally after being on information overload for six hours. Luckily, I have a supportive husband who calmly reassured me that we will, in fact, have a car seat in the car before our little one makes its arrival.
Despite my post-class breakdown, I would still recommend taking a labor and delivery class if you have a baby on the way. It does give you some peace of mind. You can envision everything more clearly – from when you’ll be making your way to the hospital to what your accommodations at the hospital will look like to what you can expect during labor. I’m sure that anyone could make it through labor having not taken a lamaze class, but having a little more peace of mind and feelings of preparedness during such an exciting and nerve-racking time certainly can’t hurt either.
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Did You Feel Different the Day You Went Into Labor?
- Family Room blog: How Will I Know When I’m in Labor?
- Bright Horizons Online Community: Hospital Packing List
- Read more posts about pregnancy and posts labor and birth and posts form the Family Room bloggers