What they don’t teach you in birthing classes (but should)
Mr McD and I went along to antenatal/birthing classes run through our local public hospital when I was in the later stages of pregnancy with Little Miss.
The last thing I felt like doing after a full day at work was fronting up to a two hour session in a poorly lit and poorly ventilated room, with a bunch of strangers with whom the only thing I had in common was that we’d had sex at approximately the same time and we lived within a five kilometre radius of the hospital. I was pregnant (der!) and uncomfortable, short tempered, and very, very hormonal. As was every other woman in the room, even the midwife leading the class, although she wasn’t pregnant. She was just a moody cow.
Our antenatal classes covered such riveting topics as ‘losing your mucous plug – what to watch for’, ‘effective back rubbing during labour’ and ‘how to wrap a baby so it resembles a kebab’. We watched a lot of videos which all seemed to be produced in 1975, when excessive body and facial hair was all the rage, and men wore very tight pants. Or perhaps they were actually more recent videos featuring hipsters, it’s hard to tell these days.
Anyway, after six weeks of these classes I didn’t feel any more prepared for birth. In fact, we missed the last one which was supposed to focus on the actual delivery, because I went into labour early and Little Miss decided to arrive at 37 weeks.
I think these classes would be much more effective if they covered the following:
- How to not fall asleep at your desk at work after lunch.
- Seven ways to wear one pair of maternity trousers.
- How to get rid of heartburn.
- What to say to strangers who try to touch your belly.
- Cankles – prevention, treatment, and what to wear when prevention and treatment doesn’t work.
- Tips on choosing a music playlist for birth (hint: don’t leave it up to the ‘shuffle’ function on your phone or you might end up giving birth to an almost 4kg baby girl to “She’s a Brick House” by the Commodores. True story)
- Ways to avoid punching your partner in the face during labour.
- Appropriate ways to respond when the midwife says you’re still only 4cm dilated after 12 hours of labour.
- Tips and tricks for keeping the monitoring belt on properly so you don’t keep setting off the alarm.
- The best birthing positions – from people who’ve been there.
After the birth
- How to walk while wearing giant maternity pads.
- Strategic ways to use a scarf to hide boob leakage.
- How to avoid ‘nipple fluff’ from breast pads.
- The agony and ecstasy of the first post-birth poo.
- How to survive on 3-4 hours of broken sleep a night for many months (sometimes years).
- How to clean vomit out of carpet. And lounge suites. And cushion covers. And every item of clothing you own.
- Incontinence – it’s not just for nannas.
I think these topics would have prepared me for the reality of pregnancy, labour and becoming a parent much more effectively than the actual antenatal classes we endured.
Did you go to birthing classes? Did you find them useful? What do you wish they’d taught you? Any tips for removing vomit from cushion covers??
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