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Sunday Special:
Two-day Classes

 



Where can you learn about and prepare for normal birth?

BIRTHNG YOUR BABY classes provide an opportunity for parents to learn about normal birth in a supportive environment. Parents are encouraged to learn, explore, ask questions, and practice so they can make informed choices for mother and baby's care.

Click on the FAQs below to find out more information.
What information will I learn?
What's so special about BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes?
How can I prepare for my baby's birth... at 6 weeks? at 36 weeks?
How will taking childbirth classes help me?
If my body knows what to do, why worry about childbirth classes?

What are the classes like?
What are Sunday Special classes?
When and where are classes?

When should I schedule classes? How?
What if I'm interested in private classes?
What if I've already had a baby and I just want a refresher?
Can I come by myself? Can I bring my mother/sister/friend?
What if I'm having a homebirth?
What if I know I want a natural birth?
What if I know I want an epidural?
How do these classes compare to hospital classes?

For more information, contact Christina at 512-2627 or by email at christina@birthingyourbaby.com.


WHAT INFORMATION WILL I LEARN?

BIRTHING YOUR BABY CLASSES are flexible and individualized. The content of the classes is partially determined by who is taking them and what those expectant parents' needs are. For example, if the class participants are later in their pregnancy, we'll skip early pregnancy material.

Or, I'm happy to work with you if you want to take an a la carte approach and only do an early pregnancy class, or supplement other classes you're taking with the postpartum class, etc. Give me a call and we can discuss the options.

Below are the topics most commonly discussed and practiced.

YOUR PREGNANCY

Pregnancy topics include:

1. Nutrition
2. Exercise
3. Self-care for morning sickness, heartburn, etc.
4. Prenatal testing
5. Choosing the birth team (midwife, OB, family doctor, doula)
6. Communicating effectively with your caregivers
7. Suggestions on what to bring to the hospital


LABOR & BIRTH

We thoroughly discuss labor and birth topics, including hands-on practice time wherever applicable:

1. Signs of early labor & how to time contractions
2. The physical "stages" of labor
3. Coping strategies for labor and birth
4. Different positions for labor and birth
5. Labor management strategies
6. Birth partner's role at each stage
7. Common emotions of laboring women
8. Natural pain-coping skills
9. Writing a birth plan
10. Informed consent

We will also examine a variety of medical pain relief options and common medical procedures during labor and birth, focusing on how to evaluate these procedures and discussion of natural alternatives.


POST-PARTUM

Post-partum topics include:

1. Common hospital routines and procedures
2. Breastfeeding overview and resources
3. Going home - physical and emotional adjustments
4. Tips on caring for your new baby

Call me at 512-2627 or email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com for more information!

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WHAT ARE THE CLASSES LIKE?

Full birth-series classes are usually three hours long, with a break for snacks and chatting. Sunday Special 2-day classes are four hours long. Either way, you can expect to be active throughout each class by praticing exercises, relaxation techniques, and pain-coping skills; reflecting on and exploring a variety of topics, viewing and discussing charts, models, birth stories, and videos; and role-playing scenarios. Although there is some presentation of materials, one of the most important benefits of these classes is that we will go way beyond classic "lecturing" to enable you and your partner to become actively involved in the learning process.

Most classes will include:

1. A birth story, usually on video
2. Active time for exercises, pain management practice, etc.
3. Quiet time for relaxation, breathing, and/or massage
4. Presentation and discussion of weekly topics
5. Discussion of questions and concerns

Like anything else, you'll get out of these classes what you put into them! So, most classes will include follow-up "homework" - reading handouts, drafting a birth plan, practicing exercises...

Call me at 512-2627 or email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com for more information!

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WHAT ARE SUNDAY SPECIAL CLASSES?

I understand that some people need classes that accomodate their demanding schedules. For familes who are looking for two-day classes, I offer the Sunday Special!

Sunday Special classes take place on two consecutive Sunday afternoons. Each class runs four hours. The first class will focus on
the physical stages of labor and practicing coping strategies. The second class will focus on procedures and medications, postpartum adjustments, and baby care. These will be active, hands-on classes with plenty of time for discussion.

Classes meet in Winthrop, about 15 minutes from the Augusta area and about 30 minutes from Lewiston.

Call me at 512-2627 or email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com to register!

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WHEN AND WHERE ARE THE CLASSES?

Classes meet in Winthrop, about 15 minutes from the Augusta area and about 30 minutes from Lewiston.

I recommend the 4-class series for most first-time parents, but other schedules (like the Sunday Special 2-day classes) can also work well, depending on the needs of the clients.

Classes are usually scheduled in the evening or on weekends. If given enough notice, I can typically accomodate unusual schedules (like working nights).
Private classes are also available.

Call me at 512-2627 or email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com for more information!

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WHEN SHOULD I SCHEDULE CLASSES? HOW?

There are several scenarios for scheduling classes:

  • You call me in your first trimester, or the beginning of your second, and we set up a series of three or four classes for the second and/or third trimester. This works well because there is plenty of time to fit in all of the classes. You have more time to process what you've learned, practice coping strategies and relaxation techniques, and lots of time to ask me questions and use the lending library. I recommend these for first-time parents, whenever possible.

  • Sometimes I find that families call me very early, even when they're trying to conceive or are early in their first trimester. For those families, I set up a "Welcome to Pregnancy" class, with an introduction to nutrition and exercise, an overview of pregnancy and fetal development, as well as information on how to choose a care provider and birth place. Then when the pregnancy has progressed, we move on to the rest of the classes.

  • You call me very late in their pregnancy, and we schedule two classes to cover the most important topics and questions. This last minute juggling happens freqently, for a variety of reasons, so don't hesitate to call. I can probably help you. The Sunday Special might be perfect!

    Registration is simple. Email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com or call me at 512-2627. We will talk about options for classes, and you can tell me about your pregnancy. After that, we set up a class schedule or I fit you into a group class that hasn't begun yet.



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    WHAT IF I'M INTERESTED IN PRIVATE CLASSES?

    In addition to group classes, I can schedule personalized, private classes if that best fits your family's needs. Private classes are more appealing than group classes for some expectant parents. Sometimes work schedules make evening classes difficult. Other times past experience(s), bed-rest, or reserved personalities make a mom or dad more comfortable in a private setting. If you are on bedrest, I can even make housecalls!

    I am currently scheduling private classes for this fall and winter, so please call me at 512-2627 for specific day and time information!


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    WHAT IF I'VE ALREADY HAD A BABY
    AND I JUST WANT A REFRESHER?

    Call me at 512-2627 to schedule a private refresher course. We can cover the topics that most interest you as a second (or more!)-time around parent. We can also explore any issues or concerns about past birth experiences.


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    CAN I COME BY MYSELF?
    CAN I BRING MOTHER, SISTER, FRIEND?

    Yes! You are welcome to come by yourself. I do recommend that, if possible, birthing women have some type of support during their births - maybe a mother, a sister, a close friend, or a doula. Any and all support people are welcome at any of the classes. For example, if you want to bring your partner/mother/sister/friend as your main support to all of the classes and then any extra support people to the coping strategies class, that can work very well. There is no extra fee for bringing someone special, just let me know ahead of time so I can prepare for handouts and activities.


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    WHAT IF I'M PLANNING A HOMEBIRTH?

    Terrific! BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes fit very well for families planning a homebirth and I've had several clients go on to have wonderful homebirths. What we do in class works well wherever the birth is planned. There is some information about hospital procedures and the types of medications available in hospitals, but it is useful to be familiar with these options in case you change your mind or in the unlikely event of a transfer.

    I also have resources specific to homebirths - articles, books, and videos that discuss and show homebirths. I am very supportive of homebirthing families - please call me at 512-2627 if you have any questions that I might be able to answer.


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    WHAT IF I WANT A NATURAL BIRTH?
    WHAT IF I WANT AN EPIDURAL?

    Wonderful! BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes do not insist on or advocate for any one type of birthing experience. YOU are the one who is pregnant, who is going to do the birthing (and supporting) work - this is YOUR BABY. The decisions about your care during pregnancy and birth are yours. BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes are for expectant parents who want to learn about as many options as possible so that they can make informed choices.

    Studies have been done that attempt to pinpoint the elements of a "satisfying" birth. Of course a healthy baby and mother are of utmost importance. But there are other factors too, described in the classic book A Good Birth, A Safe Birth: "Pain relief is not the key to satisfaction. The woman's feelings of mastery, of control and coping well, and of having an active part in decisions about her labor are the most important reasons a woman feels satisfied with the birth" (Korte and Scaer 23).

    In other words, there isn't a specific process guaranteed to provide a satisfactory birthing experience; instead, it depends on what each woman perceives as "mastery", as "coping well" and as having "an active part" in decision-making. Education about the birthing process, exploration of your hopes and concerns about birth, practicing a variety of coping skills, and developing strategies for communicating with your caregivers enhance each of these factors, whether you have an all natural birth or a birth with the compassionate use of medication.

    There are, of course, many compelling reasons why women decide to approach their childbirths naturally:

    • to physically benefit themselves and their infants,
    • to feel their strength and power as women,
    • to deepen their relationship with their partner,
    • to support the early bonding process with their baby,
    • to give breastfeeding the best possible start,
    • to be fully aware for baby's first moments and
      the beginning of their new family…

    BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes support natural childbirth for the precious reasons listed above. However, neither planning nor practice can ensure a birth that is free from medication and/or medical assistance. In fact, there are times when the compassionate use of medication offers the best experience for the mother or when medical assistance becomes essential for the well-being of mother and/or baby. Understanding the benefits and risks of common procedures and medications helps women and their partners make the best possible choices for the care of mother and baby during pregnancy and birth.

    BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes also support women who want to explore pain medications as an informed choice. For some, an epidural is a very important option. We'll discuss ways to enhance an birth with an epidural and how to maximize the benefits and reduce the risks of using an epidural. Women who are considering an epidural are exactly the ones who should know how they work and what the risks and benefits are ahead of time! There are also instances when knowing and having practiced a variety of natural pain-coping skills may come in useful, even for a woman who is planning on using an epidural: slow early labor (not time yet for an epidural) or a very fast labor (not enough time for an epidural), for example. BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes are about helping you pack a "tool chest" of pain-coping strategies, both natural and medical, so you can make the best choices for the birth of your child.

    Call me at 512-2627 or email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com for more information!

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    HOW DOES BIRTHING YOUR BABY
    COMPARE WITH HOSPITAL CLASSES?

    In The Birth Book, Dr. William Sears offers an explanation of the differences between independent classes and those offered by some hospitals. Sears explains that "in-hospital classes prepare you for the birthing policies of that hospital" and further that "some hospital-based birth educators, constrained by their own hospital's birthing policies, prepare parents more to be compliant patients than to be informed consumers" (51, 53).

    Because BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes are independent (not affiliated with a particular hospital or method), I can present the unbiased information you will need to make informed choices about your care. I can modify classes to meet your specific needs and interests. In addition, we have the time and freedom to explore a wide variety of self-care and support for pregnancy and birth.

    Finally, BIRTHING YOUR BABY is committed to flexible, individualized attention. All classes are small - no more than five couples. Students are encouraged to bring up questions and concerns to be addressed during class time; for example, if someone has questions about gestational diabetes or a certain prenatal test, or wants to discuss the possibility of home birth, or is struggling with how to balance pregnancy and work... all these can become a part of class with input from peers and instructor.

    Call me at 512-2627 or email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com for more information!

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    WHAT'S SO SPECIAL ABOUT
    BIRTHING YOUR BABY CLASSES?

    1. BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes are centered in a deep belief in a woman's ability to give birth… that birth can be an empowering, transforming experience in a woman's life…that birth is an essentially safe process for baby and mother. The philosophy that drives these classes also inspires confidence and joy in the birth process and in your new lives as parents.

    2. BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes are independent. I am not required to teach from a rigid curriculum that only "approves" of certain kinds of birth. This is your birth…your baby!! I will provide up-to-date, evidence-based information and then you can make your best decisions for a healthy and satisfying birth experience. One of my main goals is for you to be able to make informed decisions about your care - to have the necessary background and the communication skills to maintain an open dialogue with your caregivers so that you can be an active participant in your birth.

    3. I believe small classes work best, so there will never be more than five couples/series. Small classes allow for more peer interaction, for more discussion, and for the class content to be personalized.

    4. I know that four weeks of three hour classes may seem like a lot. But when you consider that we discuss everything from how you're both feeling that particular week and addressing any questions that have come up, to self-care during pregnancy, prenatal testing, nutrition, and exercise, to the emotional and physical aspects of labor, comfort measures, birth positions, and communicating with your caregivers, to the transitions of post-partum life, new baby care, breastfeeding and a lot more - the time seems to fly by… you'll be talking, writing, laughing, drawing, moving around (a lot!), viewing videos, discovering sensations, and practicing, practicing, practicing! Sometimes it'll be fun, other times it might be challenging or uncomfortable… but that's also a part of learning.

    5. BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes are consumer-oriented. In other words, I am not "prepping" you for the policies and routines for any particular birth place or caregiver. As Dr. Sears writes in The Birth Book, "some hospital-based educators, constrained by their own hospital's birthing policies, prepare parents to more to be compliant patients than to be informed consumers" (53). Instead, BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes will teach you (and give you lots of time to practice) a variety of coping skills, relaxation techniques, and positions for labor and birth. Labor is impossible to predict, so the more tricks you can pull out of your bag, the better prepared you will be!

    6. In addition to the individualized class attention, I provide (free) unlimited telephone and email consultation. Any time (pregnancy, birth, post-partum) you or your partner has questions or concerns, I welcome discussing them. I can research a topic… offer emotional support and affirmation… or simply listen.

    7. I have a well-stocked pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting "lending library" that includes books, magazines, and videos that I encourage you to borrow from at any time. I have read all of these selections and can help you find ones which address the topics that interest you.

    8. BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes encourage you to be open to the possibilities of birth. I will help you create a birth "plan", but we will also talk about what the "next best thing" is if everything doesn't go according to plan. Studies have shown that women who feel like they coped well and were active in making decisions about their care had the most satisfying birth experiences. Regardless of your plans for birth, whether this is your first birth or your third, BIRTHING YOUR BABY can provide the information and hands-on practice time to enhance your birth experience.

    Call me at 512-2627 or email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com for more information!

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    HOW CAN I PREPARE FOR MY BABY'S BIRTH?

    Women choose to get ready for birth in many ways, and during different stages of their pregnancy. Some things, like choosing a doctor or midwife, are best done at the beginning, but can also be done later (switching care providers). Other things, like practicing coping strategies, are usually done towards the end, but can be started much earlier.

    Here are a few suggestions by trimester. Call me at 512-2627 to discuss, if you have any questions.

    FIRST TRIMESTER
    • Learn about your options for where to give birth.
    • Choose a birth place.
    • Learn about who can attend births at your chosen birth place.
    • Choose a doctor or midwife (CNM or CPM).
    • Read and talk about self-care during pregnancy.
    • Learn about the importance of nutrition and exercise.
    • Consider attending a "Welcome to Pregnancy" event.
    • Think about childbirth education classes.
    • Start learning and talking about normal birth.
    • Begin thinking about what happens after baby comes!

    SECOND TRIMESTER
    • Think about who else may be part of your birth: friends, family, a doula.
    • Find childbirth classes (early second trimester) and schedule them.
    • Read and learn and watch and talk about normal birth.
    • Ask yourself: what can I do to have the birth I want? Start doing it.
    • Visualize the birth you want.
    • Discuss birth with your partner and your care provider.
    • Think about a birth plan.
    • Practice relaxation techniques.
    • Continue eating well and exercising. Practice good self-care.
    • Find support for the end of your pregnancy and postpartum.
    • Plan for the new baby: supplies, learn about breasfeeding, childcare

    THIRD TRIMESTER
    • Review your choices for birth team and place. Are they still a good fit?
    • Attend your remaining birth classes. Take some if you haven't!
    • Continue practicing relaxation and coping strategies.
    • Continue visualizing the birth you want.
    • Continue surrounding yourself with normal birth.
    • Continue eating well and exercising. Practice good self-care.
    • Write your birth plan. Share it with those attending the birth.
    • Nail down support for postpartum: meals, care, help, etc.
    • Learn about peer support, especially new moms groups.
    • Learn about local breastfeeding support options.
    • Consider attending a meeting or two of these kinds of groups.
    • If you have pets, learn how to introduce your baby to them.
    • Learn about new baby care and discuss with your partner/family.
    • Finish gathering supplies.
    • Install your carseat.
    • Pack a bag or get your space ready for a homebirth.
    • Prepare a goody basket of self-care items to enjoy after the baby's birth.

      Call me at 512-2627 or email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com for more information!
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    HOW WILL TAKING CHILDBIRTH
    CLASSES HELP ME?

    Not all childbirth classes are the same... so investigate thoroughly before you choose one. Do the classes cover the information you want? How many people will be attending? Do they offer evidence-based, up-to-date information? Do they fit into your schedule?

    Here are a few of the ways BIRTHING YOUR BABY classes can help you:

    • offer a supportive place to discuss your questions
    • provide useful, evidence-based information about birth
    • how to take good care of yourself and your baby during pregnancy
    • suggest lots of coping strategies and relaxation techniques
    • practice time in class for coping strategies and relaxation
    • learn about, watch, and discuss normal birth
    • use the lending library of books, magazine, and videos
    • free unlimited telephone and email consultation, even after the birth
    • learn about and discuss life after the baby, including baby care & breastfeeding

      Call me at 512-2627 or email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com for more information!

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    IF MY BODY KNOWS WHAT TO DO
    WHY WORRY ABOUT CHILDBIRTH CLASSES?

    Unfortunately, birth isn't something most people in our culture have the opportunity to personally connect with by watching or participating in one, or even by viewing a realistic birth on television. Births on drama shows are just that - dramatic - to get you to come back after the commercials! And don't think Baby Story can tell the whole story in 30 minutes, either!!

    Even though our bodies know how to give birth, our brains have a significant impact - how we feel about birth and how we feel during birth influences the birth process.

    [This makes sense if we compare it to another act that's intimate and uses the same body part: sex. How we feel about sex, and how we feel during sex influeces how good the sex is. ]

    So taking childbirth classes are important because they can help you:

    • learn about normal birth,
    • practice ways to work with your body during birth,
    • think about what kind of birth you want and make choices to get it,
    • and answer your questions and concerns about birth.

      Call me at 512-2627 or email me at christina@birthingyourbaby.com for more information!

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    For more information, contact Christina Kennedy at 512-2627
    or by email at christina@birthingyourbaby.com.


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