Monday, July 16, 2012

Homebirth Childbirth Class

As we wind down and get ready to HAVE A BABY I thought I would chat a bit about homebirth, what it entails, what I've done to prepare, etc etc as I've had several people ask me for more info.

If you're not interested in homebirth than you probably won't be interested in my next few posts.

Just warning you.

Today, let's talk childbirth class.

Because today is my last class of a 6 week homebirth childbirth class.

I'll start this off by saying again that SF is kind of an amazing place to be having a homebirth.  There is no lack of resources and support if you've made the decision to have your baby at home.  Yes, your close friends and family might still think you're crazy and ask you weird questions like "What if you want an epidural?" the answer of course being...I don't, that's one of the reasons I've chosen a homebirth.  But if you're looking for other like-minded individuals it's not hard to find them here.

My homebirth class has 18 couples, all of us due in the next few months...and my instructor does one of these every 6-8 weeks and they are consistently full.

That's a lot of homebirthing hippies all nestled together in a fairly small area.

I've heard a lot of you say that your childbirth class was fairly useless and you feel like you could have skipped it because you didn't learn anything new.

If you're having a homebirth I highly recommend a childbirth class but one that is tailored SPECIFICALLY for homebirthers.

The main reason?


I know and have known for a long time most of what we've gone over in this class, but if your husband is anything like mine he was fine with homebirthing conceptually and the more he learned about it the more he was all for it but he didn't know what HE was supposed to do and as the weeks passed he started to get a little anxious about what he was meant to be doing come the big day.

Enter homebirthing class.

The class goes over everything from the anatomy of pregnancy, WHY we have to pee all the time, WHY we aren't hungry when baby gets huge, WHY we get constipated etc. (my husband felt enlightened and I could see the little light bulb went off in his head when he saw a picture of the inside of a pregnant person and was like OH, I GET IT) to all the stages of birth to complications and what would constitute a transfer to the hospital.  We watch birth videos, we get down on the ground into birthing positions, and we sit around chatting and eating for half an hour in the middle of class.

The class lays out what's NORMAL about childbirth, how moving, breathing, making noises such as moaning, and warm water can actually help both with pain management and with moving the baby out of your body.

We also learned what positions are most helpful in labor and how to use gravity to help get baby out.  

And then the icing on the cake, THE CLASS GIVES YOUR HUSBAND SOMETHING TO DO.

Our instructor has literally given all the husbands tasks for when their wives go into labor such as:

1. Make sure she stays hydrated
2. Make sure she pees at least once an hour
3. Make sure she stays nourished, especially when dealing with a marathon labor.

I can't tell you how much better MY HUSBAND feels about the homebirth now that he has "jobs". 

The husbands are also asked to be active participants and they learned different massage techniques both to try out before the labor and during to see what mama likes and doesn't like.  They are also asked to be mama's "support", not just emotionally, that goes without saying, but we learned lots of pushing techniques that involve the husbands literally as support.  Husband supported squatting, husband supported rocking, husbands need to be strong for birth too!

The last class dealt with complications and what would push your birth out of the realm of "normal" and thus out of the hands of midwives and into the hands of Dr.s and hospitals for both your and baby's safety.  This class was of course the scariest and most uncomfortable, but it's necessary to know what can go wrong and why it would require a trip to the hospital.  I can tell you I did NOT enjoy hearing about a retained placenta having to be removed manually and I would happily take a ride to the hospital to have this done under anesthesia!  

And of course these aren't decisions that YOU ever have to make by yourself, your midwife would be making them WITH YOU during a homebirth, but the class lays out things that CAN happen so in the heat of the moment you know what she's talking about when your midwife says hey we need to go to the hospital for a piece of retained placenta.

I'm so glad I took this class and I know my husband is this point I'm honestly more excited than anxious for labor to start.  I feel more prepared, my husband feels more prepared, we both feel like we KNOW what we're supposed to do and how we can make this homebirth successful.

Anyone else take a class during pregnancy that they felt was really necessary and really left them feeling empowered and ready to give birth to their babies?  I can't recommend Jane Austin's homebirthing childbirth class enough if you're in the bay area having a homebirth!


  1. Your class sounded great! We did one at our home one on one. Our instructor specialized in Bradley but was also a doula & a lactation consultant. I loved her! You & your hubby are going to do great!!!

  2. Making noise does help! As soon as I said "screw it" and started screaming with every push, Austin came out in no time. its great you'll get to scream in the comfort of your own house. :-)

  3. This is all so cool! I'm taking in the info like a sponge. I think i'll do it as naturally as possble at the hospital. But a home birth would be so awesome if i felt secure enough that nothing would go wrong. Maybe if i wasnt infertile first I'd be more confident. And my neighbors stop by all the time, sooo... awkward!! ;)

    I definitely want to know everything about yours maybe i'll try it for a subsequent birth.

  4. Sounds like an excellent class! I love your observations on men needing "jobs"- so, so right. They definitely need concrete lists, jobs, to-do's- tangible, measurable items that make them feel needed and useful and helpful. So glad your husband got a lot out of the class too! You two are in the 'home' (pun intended) stretch now!

  5. My husband and I are taking the Bradley Method classes and love them! We live in Chicago and natural child births seem less common here, so I often feel like an Alien when talking to friends about natural birth. We are opting to use a Midwifes group at an Alternative Birthing Center in a hospital, rather than at home.

    Keep the good info coming. I am so interested to hear your thoughts on hypnobirthing!

    Are you renting a water tub for your home for birth?

    Also, I want to hear more about prepping the food for the baby now . . . that comment made me feel like I am behind big time!

  6. Thanks for all the information about childbirth, and home births. I haven't started my childbirth classes yet, so it is nice to get a sneak peak of what is yet to come.

  7. Thanks for sharing this info! It'd definitely given me something to think about and to talk to hubby with before the baby comes. I think both of us are just sort of...waiting for it all to happen. Although, he has started to ask a few questions about 'when' and 'how', which makes me feel encouraged.

  8. Thanks for sharing this. Here's a pdf with info for hospital birth must-haves from San Francisco doula Barbara Smoak: