Preparation for childbirth: when to start the course, why it is important to do it, how the lessons and costs are structured
The pregnancy is a moment beautiful, full of expectations for mothers-to-be and future fathers who can’t wait to embrace their little miracle. Gestation, that is, the months of waiting can be long, especially in the last quarter, when it has come almost to the end of the path and the desire to see one’s own son or daughter increases dramatically. It is normal that in this last phase of gestation the mother has conflicting thoughts, fear and anxiety about childbirth. The questions that normally a future mother asks herself in this period are, for all, more or less the same: “how will the birth be? ” or “will I make it?” should it not go well? “,” how to behave with the baby as soon as it has been given birth? “ In short, legitimate questions that all mothers ask themselves in view of the big day. You have organized almost everything before the event, a birth bag, a prenatal plan, a layette, etc. etc.? If the answer is yes, well you are already at a good point, but if you still have so many doubts about it, perhaps it is because with the arrival of the first child you have not taken into consideration a very important thing: preparing for childbirth . Do you know what the pre-natal course is and what is it for? Surely your gynecologist will have warned you about the importance of following it but, if it were not so, we will explain to you why it is important to follow it and when it is time before the presumed date the birth must be done. With preparation for childbirth you will arrive much more prepared for the fateful day of the meeting and you will know well how to behave and what to do with the little wad you will have in your hands. So, dear mothers, follow these precious tips and discover all the advantages and benefits that a pre-natal course brings with you, both on a practical and a psychological level.
Preparation for childbirth: a bit of history, as it was before
Until about fifteen years ago, birth was practiced inside of the domestic walls and was considered a completely natural event, which required the presence and exclusive support of women of the female circle. Women acquired information, skills and competences by taking part in domestic management and collaborating in childbirth, breastfeeding and childcare.
Around ’50 the birth moved from the house to the hospital losing that link with the environment and family support: the woman is therefore impoverished of that knowledge and fundamental skills on pregnancy. From the years ’70 -’80 a great movement of opinion fought for a birth in a warmer and more welcoming atmosphere, with an idea of non-violent, ecological, in water or home environment: we have therefore returned to thinking of birth as a natural event, which relocates women as the absolute and active protagonist at the center of their birth path.
When we talk about birth path we refer to to a period of about eighteen months which is articulated as follows:
- a first phase called endogestation which includes pre-conception, conception, pregnancy and childbirth
- The next phase ( exogestation ) is identified with the first months after birth until the autonomy of the child.
Pregnancy, childbirth, becoming a parent are among the most significant changes that can occur in a person’s life and represent an a rite of passage, during which there is an intense emotional, cognitive and relational remodeling. All these changes can bring a sense of vulnerability, stress, anxiety, but at the same time an explosion of joy, growth and health. This is why following a course in preparation for childbirth becomes essential to understand how to deal with this emotional and physical upheaval and face the future better.
Preparation for childbirth: what is it and how is it structured
The birth preparation course will help you feel more confident during the birth of your children, knowing not only the physical phases you will go through, but also the your possible emotional reactions. In the last months of gestation, future mothers are advised to attend childbirth preparation lessons during which they can converse with a midwife who will answer their doubts and share time with other pregnant women.
As the name suggests, this is the stage of preparation for childbirth, but it is much more than this! The birth preparation course is a meeting point where pregnant women can express their doubts and receive interesting advice, not only on childbirth, but also on:
The preparation course the birth is divided into 3 parts : a theoretical section, a practice section and an interactive section. Since these are different lessons, each of them incorporates the three sections. In this way you will not only attend one theoretical lesson and the week following a practice, but in each of them you will deal with a topic interact with the other mothers and simulate a practical preparation for childbirth. Below, we will see each section and how they are organized
1. First part: the Theory
Usually each lesson begins with an informative part in which the midwife has the task of introducing a topic of interest to future mothers such as:
2. Second part: the practice
In this second practical part the obstetrician will teach you the breathing techniques to be carried out during the different phases of the delivery. You should know that during contractions and expulsion, the mother’s breathing changes to control the pain or to help the baby be born. The specialist or midwife will also show you the Kegel exercises a series of relaxation exercises and muscle contractions that will help you train the pelvic floor, so as to avoid urine leakage during childbirth . Finally, but not for this reason it is less important, are performed some exercises and stretches very useful to move the body a little and calm the back pain. It is essential to follow this second part next to your partner (if present) or in any case the person who will then be present on the day of delivery. Only then will you have physical and present help when you need it.
During this second part the midwives will give you great advice and exercises to do at home. Some of these will be:
- Massage the whole body including the perineum with almond oil; with the same oil, massage in a circular direction also to the nipples and breast;
- it is recommended to make cold or hot showers and add 2 handfuls of clay to the bath water to detoxify the tissues;
- appropriate exercises, especially the squatting, sitting upright on a stool or on the edge of a chair, pelvic rotations and crawling placement
- advice on nutrition to be taken: for example eating a lot of fruit and vegetables, almond-type nuts , nuts, plums and figs.
- Sleep advice: go to sleep early in the evening if the labor starts at night
- special attention to proper breathing and listening to good music in pregnancy
- restrict work and to practice sports, even walks in the open air, optimal for the whole cardio-respiratory and lymphatic-draining system
- phases of labor and delivery and positions to give birth
- breathing during labor and delivery
- how to deal with contractions and how to manage pain in labor
3. Third part: the interactivity
The courses of preparation for the birth become a means to acquire confidence in their own abilities to resume contact with their own resources and learn useful tools for dealing with labor, birth and puerperium in the most peaceful and conscious way possible . In accompanying birth courses, we try to provide answers to the information needs of future parents, to provide support and support for parenting, to encourage couples to develop new knowledge. The course allows you to get in touch with people who are experiencing the same experience, and one of the most interesting aspects of it is clarifying the doubts, listening to those of the other mothers and the answers of the midwife.
The preparation for childbirth is an excellent way for the mother to face childbirth and motherhood with greater confidence and knowing what awaits her! The midwife will accompany you at every stage of the journey. Do not hesitate to consult it for any question you can think of!
How is a course in preparation for childbirth organized and when to do it
Il preparation course for childbirth is organized in small groups to offer an intimate and welcoming atmosphere, to give room for expression to each individual member of the group. In general, the pre-course courses are divided into eight meetings which provide a theoretical and a practical part as we have already mentioned. There are also other five meetings in which there are several specialists. However, the number of appointments and procedures vary between hospitals, usually held weekly and during the day. To meet the needs of pregnant and / or couples specific courses are organized, of short and medium duration, throughout the birth path, divided into various moments:
- first quarter – Cuddles in pregnancy : A course to take take care of yourself, pamper yourself and get in touch with your child: caress it through the belly, cradle it, use the voice and the song to relax it and infuse it with tranquility. The ability to relax is improved through massage; we also discover the ways to find positive personal resources and learn to know better your body in view of labor and delivery.
- second quarter – Prepare to give birth: A physical preparation course for active childbirth with breathing techniques, vocalization, relaxation, meditations and simple visualizations. We talk about useful positions and specific breathing during labor and delivery, how to use thrusts and how to deal with the pain of childbirth
- third quarter – Preparing as a couple and getting better before it is born: A course to prepare to face the birth event as a couple and to discover in the other important resources for the well-being of children and parents. Together throughout the process of labor and childbirth, how to help the baby be born with breathing, massage, voice, movement and contact. The tools useful for the first period after birth: the concept of continuum, the use of baby slings and other useful accessories, the first rudiments on breastfeeding, what to do in case of colic, if the baby does not sleep, how to deal with grandparents, as a couple, etc.
Generally, the course is booked at the end of the third month of gestation and takes place from the twenty-eighth week of waiting. In the hospital it goes from the 30th to the 32nd week, while in the clinics it is activated already a few weeks before.
How to choose the course of preparation for childbirth and the costs
In general, hospitals or clinics where the child will be born organize the preparation course for childbirth . If this is not the case, consultors or private offices can be contacted. In some cases, expectant mothers can also opt to combine the paths, because one can be complementary to the other. The costs vary according to the type of course chosen: For the hospital the ticket is paid, which can range from 40 to around 80 euros . The price of private individuals, on the other hand, varies according to the type of service: on average, it ranges from around 20-25 euros per meeting . There are also free courses and there are also those that can be attended online, (although it is always advised to physically attend the course). Remember that the course can be done even if the future mother is in her second pregnancy. It is not certain that having already had a child we already know everything, every baby is in its own right, so finding out what to do is always a good rule! And then the course is a different way to make new friends and share thoughts and emotions.