We all covet time. We often feel like there isn’t enough time in our day to get the important
things done and then the “extras” usually wind up ignored. “It’s all about prioritizing,” is what
we’re told and that tends to ring true. For instance, engaged couples, working without a wedding
planner, are estimated to spend 200-300 total hours planning their wedding!
For an event that generally lasts no more than 6 hours or so and takes place on a single day,
that is an immense amount of time to prioritize.
The question is, do people find it equally as important to spend time preparing and planning for
labor and delivery? And even if they did, would it make any difference in the end? One’s labor
and delivery can be a positive experience or a traumatic one. To avoid the latter, childbirth
education classes can go a long way. A recent study revealed that new mothers who had participated in a childbirth education class had a lower rate of vacuum extraction, a higher rate of normal vaginal delivery, and most notably, a significantly lower rate of cesarean section due to failed induction.
So now that you know taking a childbirth class can make a big impact, what kind of time will be
needed to participate in one? And why exactly is a class needed to prepare for a natural
biological process? You’re thinking, unlike a wedding, I have little control over the details of my
labor and delivery so what exactly am I planning for anyway? The truth of the matter is that the
absence of total control is exactly why preparing and planning for your birth is important.
A quality non-hospital-based childbirth education class, like Birth Boot Camp, generally lasts
around 10 weeks and meets a couple hours each of those weeks to prepare soon-to-be parents
for what to expect during labor and delivery. A variety of topics are touched on to familiarize
students with what is to come and to prepare them for an array of circumstances. Relaxation
techniques are taught and birthing options are presented and discussed. The broad spectrum of
potential interventions and labor experiences and what you want for your birth are discussed.
Other topics covered in class include pregnancy nutrition, choosing the most supportive
provider, newborn testing/procedures, breastfeeding, and more.
This ascertainment of knowledge coupled with the instructor’s trust in the biology of birth, are
tantamount in building your own confidence and trust in the birthing process. Setting oneself up
for success by prioritizing time for a childbirth education class has the potential to result in better outcomes for current pregnancies as well as less physical, and in turn, emotional trauma
during/after delivery. Each of these can act as predictors for outcomes in subsequent
pregnancies and often have emotional and physical effects that last far longer than baby’s birth-
day. It is well-worth your time to make a childbirth class a priority.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since the program was launched in 2011, it has had amazing growth. Birth Boot Camp childbirth classes are now taught throughout the United Stated, as well as in Canada and Guam. In addition to the comprehensive 10-week childbirth series, Birth Boot Camp now offers 5 additional classes to meet the different needs of birthing couples.
Training Couples for an Amazing Out-of-Hospital Birth
This class gives you all the tools and information you need to know about the nuts and bolts of labor. We will discuss the stages and variations of labor and tools to keep labor pain and discomfort at a minimum. Waterbirth, labor positions, and relaxation techniques are also addressed. This 4-series class is $220 and includes a beautiful color workbook.
Homecoming: Life with a New Recruit
Get parenthood off to a great start with this 2-series class. Topics include: postpartum health, newborn procedures, babywearing, breastfeeding, and safe sleep. This class includes a workbook and a 3.5 hour breastfeeding video download, which discusses feeding positions, common challenges, and pumping and returning to work. The fee is $115
Food & Fitness
Aside from preparation, staying low risk increases the likelihood of meeting your birth goals. Join us for this 3 hour workshop to discuss how eating well and preparing your body can be the most effective way to remain low risk. We will discuss nutrients that are crucial to a maternal diet as well as exercises and stretches to promote flexibility and stamina, giving you the most comfort during pregnancy and birth. This class includes a workbook. The fee is $95.
Coping Strategies for an Amazing Birth
Explore tools and techniques to keep mom comfortable during labor, as well as a variety of labor positions and their benefits. Partners will leave this class with a deep understanding about how touch and intimacy can impact a person in labor. They will acquire skills and easy-to-use-tools to be able to effectively keep their laboring partner as comfortable and relaxed as possible in labor. We will conclude the class with discussion on the importance of relaxation in labor and a guided meditation exercise. Partners will approach their baby’s due date feeling confident in supporting their partner in labor and during birth. This class is offered monthly, comes with 2 workbooks. The fee is $95.
Training for an Amazing Hospital Birth
Our hospital class is designed for the couple who wants more. More education. More fun. More relaxation and labor practice. More information on interventions, including medicated and cesarean births. They want to be able to make informed decisions as their birth unfolds. Workbook included. This class is typically taught over six 2 hour sessions costs. Fee: $250
We proudly provide our childbirth classes in Alamo Heights in San Antonio, TX. To learn more about our classes or to see our class calendar, click here.
1. Up to Date, Modern, Evidence Based Education for Couples: Birth Boot Camp prepares couples for an amazing birth. The curriculum is up to date, featuring modern research and evidence based practices. Don’t worry, you won’t be watching birth videos from the 1970’s, but you will see modern women birthing their babies in a variety of environments and ways.
2. Partners Learn How to Be an Amazing Birth Support: You’re going to have a joyous birth and your partner will be supporting you every step of the way. Birth Boot Camp helps partners prepare too, so they’re confident and educated on the best ways to support a laboring person. Your relationship will soar to new heights after you experience childbirth together.
3. Nutrition: Proper nutrition is crucial to a healthy pregnancy and birth. Birth Boot Camp class #2 is dedicated to proper nutrition in pregnancy. There is also a nutritional focus every week where couples will learn which foods are best for pregnancy by decreasing certain ailments, helping boost immunity in mom and baby and MORE! Moms will fill out their chow chart each week to track protein and food intake, to give them a better picture of their overall diet.
4. Exercise: Does your back ache? Are you experiencing heartburn? Birth Boot Camp has a PT exercise every week that not only gets moms up and moving, but it also teaches couples which exercises and stretches help with common aches and pains like sciatica and even indigestion.
5. Comfort Measures: Every week in class, we will go over a comfort measure (maybe even 2 or 3) to help you stay relaxed and as comfortable as possible in the thick of labor. Partners will know how to touch you in labor and when to use certain techniques. By the end of class, you’ll have a toolbox filled with a wide variety of comfort measures to use in labor.
6. Birth Videos: At Birth Boot Camp we want you to be prepared for everything. Sometimes things come up that aren’t planned or expected, but by watching a variety of births, moms and dads will have an idea of what birth looks like from a variety of lenses. We watch a birth video in every class, including homebirth, induction, birth center water birth, shoulder dystocia, vaginal breech, and we even watch a cesarean. The goal is not to scare couples, but to prepare them and give them information so that they can make an educated, informed decision should the unexpected arise.
7. Relaxation: Relaxation is a crucial tool for having a natural birth. Tense muscles cause more pain and inhibit progress and lose, relaxed muscles are going to allow baby to descend in the birth canal more easily. We practice relaxation in every class and there are a variety of relaxation exercises in the student manual for you to practice with your partner at home. When D-Day arrives, you’ll be well prepared to get into a relaxed state easily.
8. Games & Demos: Every individual has a different learning style. Some folks are visual learners, some auditory, and some people need action and movement to learn something well. Sometimes it can be easier to remember something when you see and feel it in action, right? Be prepared to laugh and have fun with your classmates when we break out games and hands on demonstrations.
9. Rebozos:A rebozo is a beautiful, long woven garment that women traditionally wear in Mexico and throughout Latin America, but it can be used as a versatile birth tool. Couples will learn of variety of rebozo techniques to help keep mom comfortable in labor. As a San Antonio-based, Rebozo Certified, Birth Boot Camp instructor, I incorporate a rebozo technique into most classes to give couples more tools in their Comfort Measure Toolbox.
10. Weekly Emails: Not only do couples get a ton of useful info in class, but every week after class every student will receive an email chock full of links to extra reading materials and videos pertaining to the topic of the week.
11. A Beautiful, Color Workbook: Each couple receives a colorful, 170-page workbook with great articles, chow charts, relaxation exercises, PT routines, diagrams, and vocabulary. This book will become your #1 resource for 10-weeks and can continue to be helpful even during labor.
12. A Breastfeeding Video: Each Birth Boot Camp couple will receive a breastfeeding video download, Breastfeeding: The Ultimate MRE, which is loaded full of helpful, essential info and trouble shooting advice for breastfeeding your baby.
14. Knowledgeable, Trained Instructors: Every Birth Boot Camp instructor is trained and knowledgeable about birth. Many have had natural, unmedicated births of our own, we’ve witnessed other’s births, and we’re experienced breastfeeding moms. Birth Boot Camp instructors have a lengthy reading and video list to complete, assignments in the per-certification study guide, and a weekend workshop the wraps up with an exam. Your Birth Boot Camp instructor lives and breaths birth, and will be a wonderful support and resource for you and your partner.
15.Comprehensive Education Written by Experts in the Field: The Birth Boot Camp curriculum is brought to you by several professionals in the field, including midwives, massage therapists, childbirth educators, lactation counselors, holistic health coaches, and doulas. Birth Boot Camp is one of the most comprehensive curricula in the field of childbirth education. This program leaves no stone unturned and couples graduate with a well rounded education.
16. Massage: Moms, how can you say no to massage? At Birth Boot Camp, learn techniques to properly massage a pregnant mom. This will be beneficial during pregnancy and during labor.
17. Newborn Care: Many couples have an amazing birth and then go home, not really sure what to do next. This can cause a great deal of anxiety in new parents. In class #10, we discuss many of the newborn procedures that are typically done after birth and you’ll be able to make an informed decision about whether or not any are right for your baby. We will also discuss baby sleep options, baby wearing, diapering options, breastfeeding, and baby soothing techniques..
18. Postpartum Health: Birth Boot Camp classes extend well beyond birth. We want moms and partners to be prepared and to have a plan for what their babymoon will look like. In this class, we will talk about postpartum nutrition, healing and recovery, postpartum depression, breastfeeding, and even SEX!
20. Amazing Statistics:In 2014, Birth Boot Camp students had AMAZING births! Only 14% of students had cesareans, which is less than half of the national average. 86% of moms had vaginal births, 73% of which were unmedicated. Birth Boot Camp’s stats speak for themselves. This curriculum trains and prepares couples to birth confidently.
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was planning a homebirth with a midwife. I trusted my body to give birth and knew I had a phenomenal birth team to support me on that journey. While I was confident in the birth process, the media and people around me weren’t sending me the same positive messages.
Sometime during my second trimester, I caught a segment on The Discovery Channel about childbirth. At one point during the segment, it equated pushing a baby out of your vagina to pushing a baseball down your throat. This imagery shook and rattled me. It really threw me for a loop. For a minute, it really made me question the path I had chosen for my birth, but then, I had a moment of clarity; a moment of POWER. What that segment failed to mention was that the vagina is made and designed to stretch to make way for a baby. Your throat was never intended to have a baseball pass through it. I had to work really hard to stay in that positive, confident frame of mind. It can be difficult to remain calm and empowered when the images we see of birth in the media are full of terror and screaming women.
From that moment on, I promised myself to only surround myself with people and images that lifted me up and strengthened my confidence. I watched birth video after birth video showing empowered women rocking their births. I read many, many birth stories on various birth blogs, and often talked to women who had similar beliefs about childbirth. I surrounded myself with beautiful birth imagery that not only helped with my confidence, but also inspired me and helped me feel excited to give birth.
Reading birth affirmations and quotes from respected professionals in the birth field was another great way I stayed inspired about my upcoming birth. I printed and cut out affirmations and quotes and put them all over my house; on the fridge, on the bathroom mirror, on my nightstand. Saying them out loud and believing the words I was saying really solidified everything for me.
Below are 30 wonderful affirmations and quotes. I hope they help light a fire in your belly to give birth like the powerful, courageous, and beautiful woman that you are.
1. I embrace the wisdom and innate knowledge of my body.
2. I surrender to the power of my body. My contractions bring my baby closer.
3. I feel the power of my body with each contraction. My body works flawlessly.
4. My muscles work in complete harmony to make birthing easier.
5. My cervix opens and allows my baby to ease down with each contraction.
6. I put all fear aside as I prepare for the birth of my baby.
7. I trust my body and my baby.
8. My body has been perfectly designed for giving birth naturally.
9. My body and pelvis open wide for my baby to pass through.
10. Each contraction produces a healthy, positive pain that I can handle.
11. My courage and patience will send my baby into my arms.
12. My body knows what to do. I will surrender fully and completely.
13. I have grown this baby; I will birth her fearlessly.
14. I am a strong woman and my body is powerful. I trust my instincts to know what I need for my labor.
15. Countless women have given birth before me. Their courage and strength are with me.
16. My pelvis releases and opens easily to make way for baby.
17. Good strong contractions will help me meet my baby.
18. I will welcome my baby in peace and joy.
19. My body contains all the knowledge necessary to give birth to my baby.
20. My baby knows how and when to be born.
21. Birth is a safe, wonderful, and powerful experience.
22. “The strength that is displayed in labor and birth is something that no one can EVER take from you in your life. Elixir of courage.” –Desirre Andrews
23. “We are made to do this work and its not easy…I would say that pain is part of the glory, or the tremendous mystery of life. And that if anything, it’s a kind of privilege to stand so close to such an incredible miracle.”
Simone in Klasson 2001
24. “The whole point of woman-centered birth is the knowledge that a woman is the birth power source. She may need, and deserve, help, but in essence, she always had, currently has, and will have the power.” Heather McCue
25. “Just as a woman’s heart knows how to pump, her lungs know how to inhale, and her hands to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth.” Virginia DiOrio
26. “Don’t think of it as pain. Think of it as an interesting sensation that requires all of your attention.” Ina Mae Gaskin, Spiritual Midwifery
27. “It’s hard to describe if you’ve never been there, but to watch a woman access her full power as a woman to give birth is awe-inspiring, and I never get tired of being witness to it. It’s an honor to watch that transformation take place.” Julie Bates, CNM
28. Why do birth work? “I do it, because nothing else… nothing else, compares to watching a woman move mountains with her own self, to watching her rise to a challenge and meet the moment with all she has, and that experience is only enhanced when she is supported by those who care for her, respect her, and want her to be empowered by the journey.” The Yarn Harlot
29. “Not only do I trust my body, I am in awe of all it can do. I don’t know if I will ever be able to accomplish anything as marvelous as birthing and nursing two babies. That is more amazing to me than running a marathon or climbing a mountain. I have created and nurtured life; nothing tops that. ” ~ Corbin Lewars (via Midwifery Today)
30. “Remember that each labor contraction is caused by a wave of oxytocin coursing through your body. So, very literally, each birthing surge is a surge of love. Allow yourself to meet each surge with the same warmth, intimacy and acceptance that you would experience during a kiss or a loving embrace.” Lauralyn Curtis
Have you ever noticed the way mainstream media portrays dads? Take a minute and think about it. There are always images of clueless dads scrambling to change a diaper, dads who are awkwardly holding a baby all while baby looks like he’ll fall to the ground at any minute. There are dads who don’t know how to make toast, or dads that can’t be given any meaningful task without screwing it up completely. (Don’t’ believe me? Check out this video,this video,this video, or this video.) It is a very common and very insulting portrayal of the modern father.
There are so many wonderful, helpful, nurturing men out there. I have seen them in class, I am married to one, and I was raised by one. Don’t you think we really need to celebrate them instead of perpetuating the idea of the “dumb dad”?
I took to the streets and asked women to tell me all of the ways their husband’s were wonderful during their birth experience. There are some really beautiful stories of compassionate, nurturing, helpful men and these ladies are so lucky to have them!
Mine kept the kids occupied so that I could relax and get into my labor zone. When labor started moving at the speed of light, he made a valiant attempt to get the birth pool set up in time. He got it set up just in the nick of time, but by that point, I refused to get out of our bathtub. Poor guy. –Hailie Wolfe
When we realized we were about to have an unplanned homebirth because our son was coming so fast, my doula asked if we wanted her to “call 9-1-1, or call her midwife friend.” My husband, with an excited smile said, “Call the midwife! This is awesome!” It’s one of my favorite memories. –Nancy Rebarchik
My husband filled the birth tub with a bucket when the hose wouldn’t work with our sink. He stopped at the beginning of each contraction, held my hands, said encouraging words and continued to fill the tub after each contraction. When it was time to push, he got in the birthing pool and held me through each contraction. When our daughter was born, he cried. –Kristen Granberry Hosaka
My husband was nothing but supportive during the birth of all three children. He went all day without eating during the first, he agreed to take pictures of my c section and when our baby was whisked away to the NICU he stayed with him for over 24 hours straight, and during my last labor he let me squeeze every drop of blood from his hand while I pushed and encouraged me to squeeze tighter if it helped, remember to breathe, and that he was so proud of me and he loves me and I’m amazing. I’m tearing up now. I better go kiss that man! –Bekah Danielle Smith
During the pushing stage of my second birth my midwife had me stand on the bed, squatting to help move baby down. My hubby held my entire, hugely pregnant body up for I don’t even know how long while I pushed our baby out. He never complained he was sore the next day. –Cheryl Amelang
He vocalized with me during my entire first labor which helped me feel confident to make as much noise as I needed. He was perfect. He did everything right. For my second birth, he was there. It is hard to describe, but the fact that he supported my birth wishes, loved my midwife, and bragged that we were having a home birth, meant the world to me. He made me feel safe and loved and all I had to worry about was birthing a baby. –Kristi Keen
Mine spent two hours once a week for ten weeks preparing for our birth, he practiced relaxation with me, brought me home protein packed treats. He “labored” with me before it ever began and was a hip squeezing, sacrum pushing, pool filling, food making superman during. And had it been necessary he would’ve literally “pulled crap” out of the water with that awesome little net thing that came in my kit. The daddies and mommies need Birth Boot Camp. –Tara Jewett Quinn
He held my hands through every contraction and whispered affirmations to me. When he reached down to catch my baby and hand him to me, he teared up. –Shazia Lackey
My husband was amazing with my last two births-total 180 from my first birth. We took Birth Boot Camp with our second. He just didn’t know what to do with out first, but he tried. He held the heat pack as best as he could, held my numb leg and watched every second of the birth – the nurse had placed the internal fetal monitor earlier and said our baby was totally bald. When Ethan was crowning, fuzzy hair was showing and my husband later told me he thought, “what in earth?! I didn’t know women had hair up in there?!?” Since the nurse had told him Ethan was bald. Turns out she put the monitor on his forehead. He had a lightning bolt scar for a few days like Harry potter. 2nd birth Ryan held my hands, squeezed my hips and gave counter pressure, literally took all of my weight when my doula told me to give it to him, carried me back inside our apartment, gathered all our towels, and panted with me to slow down the pushing. 3rd he labored with me for 3 days, staying up at night to help me through the tough contractions. He helped set up the birth tub, helped me over to it, hopped in with me when I needed him, and caught Emma even though he said he didn’t want to. Then he cried and said something like “this is amazing! And incredible!” It was so sweet! In his cry voice he said “you just pooped two little ones sweety. That was amazing!” I almost got mad but he was so cute I couldn’t. He was so supportive about the homebirth and was my rock! –Beth Whitlock Barber Bbci
When I went into labor the second time it was the middle of the night. I poked my husband and said “it’s time!”. He sat straight up and said “it’s game time!!” and immediately started blowing up the birth tub and getting things together. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. With our first birth, he went out of the room to eat because they wouldn’t let me. And he sneaked some food in for me. In both births, when I started clinging to him toward the end, he never not once left my side til the baby was out. There’s not another soul I’d want to birth with. -Theryssa Fant Gossman
During both of my labors, my husband has been so calm and happy. When I was in active labor and I told him a contraction was intense, he would smile and say, “That’s great. That means we’re getting closer to the end. You’re doing amazing work.” When my thoughts turned negative, he changed my direction to be positive. –Julia West
He held my hand and told my older daughter how amazing her mommy was and not to be scared because I was working hard so we could meet her baby sister. –Shannon Boyer Blackwell
During my third birth. He stepped up to the plate and caught our daughter because our team didn’t make it. (He previously had refused to have anything to do with a homebirth) Right after he caught her, he praised me over and over saying how good I did and that I did it. And that it was the best thing ever! With my fourth things were moving fast so my team didn’t really have time to say too much. But I think he saw I was freaking out and he said, ” she’s doing so awesome isn’t she?!” to my team. It helped me get there the next few minutes. He also did some hip squeezes and explained to the older children that I was having contractions so that way brother could come out and that I was working really hard. –Andrea Felton Brannock
My husband was AMAZING for both of my births… But with our second, a home birth, he was my knight in shining armor! Everything happened SO quickly… He was running around getting the midwife and assistant sponsored onto the military base, WHILE filling the pool, and then he dropped off our older daughter at a friends house down the street. After he made sure all of that was taken care of, he put on swim trunks, got in the birth pool with me, did some of the best hip squeezing I’ve ever seen, and then caught our daughter. But one of my favorite things that he ever did… After both of our daughters were born, he wrote their birth stories for me … I will cherish those for the rest of my life. -Andrea Winn
My husband is totally in on his A game during labor and birth! But with my second, I was laboring in the shower with my midwife and doula and he was getting the birth pool set up. It had been blown up for a couple weeks and he was going to top it off with air, but the little air compressor wasn’t working. So he and my dad ran it out to the shed in the wind and rain to use the big compressor. I didn’t even realize that it was storming out! Then he finally filled it up with water. I didn’t know about that part until a few months later. Then he and my mom continuously ran hot water from the stove down to keep the pool warm for the next couple hours. And actually, had I needed another hand, my daddy would have been right there in the mix, too, but instead was upstairs watching our oldest and playing with him. Just the kind of guys they are.Melissa Kosloski
I have VERY intense labors, like a freight train rumbling right through me. For my third baby, it came on in an instant, from bearable, comfortable workable contractions to piercing, rolling, inexplicable waves. He was my ROCK. I felt out of control and unable to go on if I was disconnected from him for a contraction, and luckily that was very rare, because our arms and eyes were locked and he whispered positive affirmations of my beauty and strength as a broke between contractions and braced himself for my open, groaning mouth and face buried in his chest through each overwhelming vibration. -Tessa Aranda
While I labored in the spa on our deck in 90 degree heat my husband sat in the sun, holding an umbrella to shade me. –Jillian Hilton Blakeman