Before you Register for that Hospital Birthing Class…

hospital birth class

Congrats! You’re pregnant and excited to learn all the things about labor and delivery. You’ve done some preliminary research and you’ve decided that natural childbirth is your goal. Everything you’ve skimmed over and those birth stories you’ve read online have given you confidence. You are certain this is something you can and will do, at least in theory. However, you’re curious about how it will pan out at “go-time.” You need more information and more knowledge, but where will you go to get it? It’s likely that the hospital at which you’re planning your delivery offers its own childbirth class and that seems awfully convenient, but before you sign-up, know what you’re getting and what you’re not.

Not Enough Detail
Hospital childbirth classes approach childbirth education in a broad-stroke. Many different approaches to childbirth are discussed with no one method or option being given the necessary attention to truly convey the philosophies of each. The focus of a hospital childbirth class is not natural childbirth. It may be touched on, but there won’t be nearly enough information to make you feel prepared.

Class Size
Classes are usually fairly large which prohibits both individualized attention and ample time for student questions. With the majority of childbirth-class-attendees being first-timers, these two things are vital. Without the opportunity for the instructor to build rapport and for the students to ask pressing questions, the learning experience is severely lacking.

Class Duration
Not only does the class-size pose an issue, the amount of class-time is generally abbreviated and usually falls too close to your estimated-due-date. A class that meets once a week for four-weeks, beginning at the end of your third trimester, is not going to provide the amount of time necessary to get comfortable with and practice relaxation techniques and positioning recommendations.

Instructors Lack Training in Natural Childbirth
The instructors usually aren’t certified childbirth educators. Rather, they are labor and delivery nurses. Not to discount their extensive time assisting in childbirth, but having a role in hundreds of hospital-childbirths does not provide one with expertise in natural methods and techniques that a certified childbirth educator possesses.

Strong Focus on Hospital Procedures
Being that the class takes place in-hospital and that the instructors are employees of said hospital, these classes tend to do a good bit of training students on how to be “good patients.” There will be talk of protocols and procedures and an underlying or even outright discouragement of the patient’s autonomous decision-making. It’s much easier for the medical staff to have a compliant patient, one who doesn’t stray from the birth interventions that are all-too-common in our maternity wards.

Social Considerations
While it’s not your main goal to make other soon-to-be-parent-friends, private childbirth classes really lend themselves to this possibility due to their small class-size, longer duration of class, and like-minded classmates. With hospital classes missing these key aspects, making friends with others is harder to come by, and that’s a missed opportunity.

While it may be said that having a hospital childbirth class would be preferable to opting not to take a class at all, it’s definitely not the route recommended for someone interested in giving birth naturally, with minimal to no intervention. When your goal is natural childbirth, a supportive care team should be first priority while a solid natural childbirth class comes in as a close second.

8 Stay-at-Home Date Ideas

Lately, I have been feeling like date nights come fewer and fewer the further we settle into the parenting gig. Who doesn’t enjoy a night out on the town careless and fancy-free? This simple luxury is something parenting robs you of, I believe. You are kept to the confines of your home while the kiddos get that restorative rest they (and you) need. But how do you make every night seem not so monotonous? Read. Netflix. Eat. Instagram. Repeat.

Is there a way to reconnect with our partners while not leaving home? I have a few ideas to jazz up your evenings in.

Candlelight Chinese. Yep, you guessed it. That cheap, MSG laden, free delivery General Tso’s chicken with those ginormous egg rolls. Light some candles and put out fancy plates. BAM! Romance for under $20.

Blindfolded Brownies. This one is bound to make you laugh. Whichever partner agrees to the blindfold wears it. The other person sets out materials and guides partner by voice only through the how-to instructions.

Watercolor Wonder. Buy a cheap set of water colors and some white paper and let out your inner Picasso. For an added challenge, use your less dominant hand.

Boggle Bliss. That simple cube filled with random letters is bound to spice up any evening in. It may be surprising which of you is the better Word Whiz.

Puzzle Palooza. Get a puzzle that can be completed in one evening. Around 200-300 pieces and work together to complete it. This will foster relaxation, conversation, and a shared goal.

Tasting Test. Get a few different wines, beers or even some different sodas and do a tasting. Pair it with a nice charcuterie board and some fancy cheeses for an added treat.

Microadventure Mania. Make a list of things you would enjoy doing together in your lifetime (as a couple or as a family). Similar to a bucket list, however, much more realistic. Try to attain one of these a month!

Karaoke Choas. Find songs with lyrics on YOUTUBE and sing your heart out. This is super funny when choosing some dramatic ballads to belt out.

It doesn’t take much more than an investment in time and energy to nurture your relationship. Whatever at-home date idea you choose, we wish you a fun evening filled with connection with your partner.

Confessions of a Potty Training Mom

Never in my 33 years would I think that potty training a human would require so
much thought and insight. I began thinking of and dreading this milestone shortly
after my first was born. I made every excuse possible. I thought my husband would
support the argument that if we never trained her, she would never get married and
he would never have to give up his diaper butt princess. But he thought it still

The second birthday gave me a host of mixed emotions. Half of me dreaded this day
because I knew what was soon to come. A friend of mine lent me “Oh Crap! Potty
Training” and I began reading it. Several excerpts in this book convinced me that my
daughter was more than ready and I just needed to rip off the Band-Aid (or diaper)

So we did just that. We are 7 days diaper free and I am here to share my

Day 1 was an absolute crap shoot or pee shoot really. My daughter was completely
unaware of her bodily functions and had little to no control of her bladder. We were
pretty much chasing her around with a roll of paper towels and a potty. The book
talks of pushing through and teaching her that pee-pee goes on the potty. Honestly, I
did not see an end in sight and I was quite astounded at the emotional toll it took to
do nothing but watch her the entire day.

Day 2 was slightly better but not by much. My daughter was still naked this day as
the book claims this will teach her how to feel the sensation of having to go. Our
trashcan was filled with urine and poop paper towels. This task was not for the
weary. I began becoming obsessed with it. I was prompting her around the clock
every 15 minutes. We were both tense. Finally at the end of day 2, her heightened
frustration erupted and she physically kicked the potty. I then read the chapter on
“Over Prompting” and decided Day 3 would need a little more chill from Mama Bear.

Day 3 & 4 called for clothes (but no undies). More and more pee was making into the
potty and my hope began to rise. We decided to incorporate short walks around the
block because our two-bedroom row home was beginning to close in on us. At the
tail end of day 4, my daughter had her weekly music class to attend. I was on the
fence about weather or not we should go. We took a leap of faith and brought a little
port-a-potty. Minutes before the class ended, she had an accident and another kid
stepped in it. I was frantically cleaning up and trying my best to get us out of there.
To top off my embarrassment, I received an email later that evening about my
daughter wearing panties to the next class to prevent other participants from being

Day 5 & 6 were by far the best days. We got out of the house and went on long
outings. She began to control those little muscles and get such a sense of pride at throwing away her pee pee in Mr. Big Toilet. Success after success made me one proud mama. Who would have known putting pee in the potty could make you feel so emotional?

Day 7 and beyond. If you would have asked me on Day 1 if I saw her accomplishing
this in such a short period of time, I would have never thought it possible. But for
the last 30 hours, we have been accident free. I am rarely prompting and she
surprises me with her ability to hold it for long periods of time.

While I know this is not the end of our potty adventures, I am pleased with what the Oh Crap! Method of
potty training offered my little one this week. A sense of accomplishment and pride in such a small amount of time.

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