10 Tips for a Better Postpartum: Tip #2
This post is part of the series, 10 Tips for a Better Postpartum. This is Tip #2 in a list of 10 things you can do in pregnancy to set yourself up for a more comfortable, peaceful, and enjoyable postpartum journey. Check back in the coming weeks as I share the next tips in the series!
Tip #2: Take a Quality, Independent Birth Class
When I was pregnant with my first, I took ALLLL the birth classes available in my community at the time. I wanted ALLLL the information so that I felt fully prepared. I took all the classes offered by our hospital, as well as an independent Bradley Method childbirth class.
Looking back, all that I needed to know came from the Bradley classes I took. I found the hospital classes to be loosely based on Lamaze with the patterned “hee hee hoo” breaths, taught by a nurse, and clearly focused on teaching the hospital’s processes. We learned where to go in the hospital, what procedures would be done when, and were shown an epidural catheter, forceps, and an amnihook used to break waters. My partner and I learned very little in the way of techniques we could use to help me have a more comfortable and more efficient labor. We were not given any information on advocating for evidence-based, family centered care, and were presented an incredibly limited view of what options were actually available to us. The information on postpartum was minimal too. At the end of the classes, my partner and I were so very grateful for our independent childbirth class for giving us a full understanding of our options, teaching us valuable techniques, providing us with more detail on what to expect postpartum, and helping us learn how to be a team during birth and after baby’s arrival.
As part of your preparation for a better postpartum, find yourself a birth class that is independent of the hospital and taught by a certified childbirth educator.
So how did taking an independent birth class impact our postpartum, specifically?
A Solid Foundation for Parenting
Our participation in Bradley Method classes empowered my partner and I and united us as a team. We were ready to take on birth, but what we hadn’t even fully realized yet is how the experience of taking independent Bradley Method birth classes, and all that the classes entail, had prepared us to take on postpartum and parenting together as a team. We each knew what to expect, as well as knowing the specific ways we could support each other and our growing family in the early days and weeks after baby’s arrival.
Somewhere to Turn
Beyond the information & training we received in our independent birth classes, we also had made a connection with a knowledgeable and experienced birth educator and doula. Her own postpartum experiences, as well as her connection to so many other women’s postpartum experiences made her a wonderful resource who we could reach out to in the early days and weeks after baby’s arrival. This was such a comfort, knowing if we had questions, we could turn to her for information and resources that went well beyond what had ever been shared with us in our hospital classes. She knew who the best connections were in town based on having helped so many women & families connect with resources in the past. Challenges with breastfeeding, postpartum mental health, lip ties, or just needing more support – she had quality information and the best community resources ready to share.
A Community of Support
In addition to our instructor’s support, we had also connected with other growing families in our class. This is one of my favorite things to witness through the classes I teach – families who are at similar stages in life keeping in touch after our classes end. Reunions, playdates, group texts, and check-ins sent after babies are here - sharing adorable baby pictures, as well as the challenges and triumphs of daily life with little ones. Postpartum can feel lonely, but having relationships with others who are in the thick of it as well can help you feel connected and supported.
A Smoother Recovery
Regardless of birth outcome, the information we gained and the connections we formed would have helped us to have a better postpartum experience. That being said, I know that what we learned in our independent birth classes helped us to avoid unnecessary intervention in all three of our births, meaning a smoother recovery for me and for baby after baby’s birth. I can pinpoint situations during each of our births where things would likely have gone very differently if we hadn’t known and applied what we learned in our independent birth classes. All of this added up to a better postpartum experience because I had less to heal from physically. Emotionally, I had the benefit of feeling like I had been in control of my experience, I had been able to make truly informed decisions about situations that came up, and I had advocated for the kind of care that was right for me. Part of the postpartum experience is processing your birth – I was so grateful that the Bradley Method classes had given me the knowledge I needed to feel at peace with the ways each of my births unfolded.
As someone who has taken a variety of birth classes, and is familiar with many childbirth education methods, I can tell you that the value of taking a quality, independent birth class taught by a certified childbirth educator is unmatched by any other offering. I am so grateful that friends and coworkers encouraged us to sign up for Bradley Method classes before our first birth – the experience made such a difference for us and continues to positively impact the way we parent and function as a family.
For a better birth and postpartum experience, please reach out and I can connect you with a class option that is right for you.
Looking for more tips for a better postpartum? Here's Tip #3!