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Seeking Suggestions: Childbirth Preparation Course for Second Timers

An urbanMama recently emailed:

I'm having my second child in December at Providence Portland. My OB/GYN recommended I sign up for the hospital's childbirth preparation classes. It turns out these classes run eight hours, which feels like overkill for a second birth. We did Hypnobirthing with my first child and won't be doing that again. So, I have two related questions. First, does anyone have a recommendation for a general refresher course? Second, do other moms really go through childbirth preparation classes the second time?

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in our case, my second time was his first time. plus. my first was a csection and 5 years prior. so, what we did was go to a massage for childbirth class and a labor positions class, both through mother tree birth services at zenana spa. it was WONDERFUL, because we met other couples and did some birth empowerment exercises and felt closer and more connected to the birth. each class was $45 per couple, but there are many to choose from so you can pick the one that most closely addresses your concerns (or do them all!) our class included a birth coupons book, which was really cool and had some neat coupons.

https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/ASP/home.asp?studioid=4271

there is the link, our teacher was jessie henderson and i HIGHLY recommend her!

We did not, because we were planning an a second cesarean birth. He had other ideas, and I stupidly went along, saying I'd give it the ol' college try. In short, it was not for me. I hope yours goes better. Most people adapt better to change. I do not.

I was on my 4th kid by the time I figured out something closer to hypnobirthing. I was devouring the book 'Birthing From Within' and took something like a relaxation lamaze class (sorry, I can't remember exactly). Then we had our first water birth and it was all amazing! So if you're not repeating a hypnobirthing method, what are you looking for? It can't hurt to take another class if you are wanting to try something completely different. I would always encourage anything that re-connects you to your awareness of your body and your baby.

if you are a fan of birthing from within, there are also "birthing again" courses...

i'd also recommend the mothertree classes; they came with the hiring of our doula, and were wonderful. we took relaxation positions and labor massage, both of which were helpful even as second-timers. i'd also recommend reading "ina may's guide to childbirth" by ina may gaskin. it prepared me better for birth than anything i'd ever come across before, and i had a speedy, focused, amazing natural birth of my second child (after a prolonged epidural birth with my first). i credit my wonderful birth experience largely to ina may's book and a great midwife at the hospital that kept everything calm. best wishes with your upcoming arrival!

I second the suggestions for Jessie Henderson from 'MotherTree' and Ina May Gaskins book. Both awesome.
My husband and I loved Shana Celnickers class at Yoga Shala, 'Birth Prep for Partners'. She incorporated yoga techniques. Her class helped my husband and I focus on each other and why we were having our baby. I think it was 3 hours and $75.

Another vote for MotherTree. We did an intense Bradley-method class in LA for our first (that approach seems much more popular down there than up here!). With our second, we were in a much busier place in our lives and knew we didnt' have time for the same sort of preparation. We hired a doula from MotherTree, and were thus entitled to attend a class, which was basically a 2-hour refresher on pain management. Talking our plans and past experiences over with the doula in advance of the birth also felt like preparation. Having the doula at the birth was also wonderful, helped to make the experience at St. V. hospital (where we were b/c of possible complications) so much better than it might have been otherwise.

No, I didn't take a class the second time (or have a doula, although I very much liked having one the first time - we just felt more confident the second time around, and the births were within 3 years of each other). My second birth was much easier than the first, and about 1/4 of the time in active labor. We just tweaked our first birth plan a bit, talked it over with our doctor (who actually did the delivery), took the hospital tour, and that was it.

I second Shana's classes at Yoga Shala. While we didn't take her 3-hour birthing classes, I did take her prenatal yoga classes with both of my pregnancies and feel that I gained the most from the yoga classes vs. the birthing classes we took at Kaiser Perm. My children were born less than a year apart, so I didn't have the chance to forget anything, but keeping up with stretches and breathing techniques certainly helped in the long run.

I didn't feel the need of a class the second time around. If I had to do it over, I still wouldn't take a class. But I would have gotten a doula. Because although things went better in some ways (no induction necessary this time), they went worse in ways I didn't anticipate (back labor). I don't think a class could have helped me with that as much as a doula would have been able to.

Like the other Mamas, I love Mother Trees services, classes and doulas.
If you can manage yoga, I think that is super beneficial. My midwife (A Gentle Beginning in No Po) offers classes as well.

I didn't take classes after my first child (we have four boys) but read extensively. Somehow reading others experiences of birth seems to be my best way of learning.

Regardless of your choice of hospital, home, birth center, csection, natural, medicated or not these are all fantastic reads:

Guide to Childbirth and Spiritual Midwifery, Ina May Gaskin
Birth, Tina Cassidy
BIrthing from Within, Pamela England
Hypnobirthing, Marie Mongan

Another vote for Mothertree. We used their doulas for both kids, so we got to take many of their workshops for free. All we did was one "massage for natural labor" class, but just that was enough to kind of get us back in the labor and delivery mindset. Jesse Henderson led the class, and she is awesome, as many have already written.

I didn't do a class the second time around. It was twins, and it was the second time in less than 2 years. I am pretty laid back about such things though, and just figured that I'd do what felt right. My body remembered. All went smoothly.

We used their doulas for both kids, so we got to take many of their workshops for free. All we did was one "massage for natural labor" class, but just that was enough to kind of get us back in the labor and delivery mindset. Jesse Henderson led the class, and she is awesome, as many have already written.

I also felt very compelled to read as many birth stories as possible. I think, after having my own first birth experience, the stories seemed more comprehensible and more powerful. I did a lot of thinking, writing, and reading about natural labor; I gave birth to my first child in a hospital setting and my second at home. I spent several hours writing my own birth story and remembering as much as possible about that first experience. "Birthing from Within" was really useful especially its suggestions on facing fears. I recommend "Adventures in Natural Childbirth" as a great source for birth stories. It covers natural births in the hospital, at birthing centers, with doulas, with midwives, and alone. It offered many hours of inspiring and diverse birth stories.

One fun thing we did from the birthing again classes was gifting. The baby gave a give to big brother and big brother got to pick out something for baby. Now we have to woven shakers/rattles, funny how baby picked the same gift! Good luck!

I second zinemama. Skip the class but get a doula if you can afford it. We had kids 5 years apart, so what we did was to take our son to a class that Providence has for kids becoming big brothers/sisters. It was a little tedious, but I'm glad that we did it. It made our son feel a part of the experience, and we got some good tips on how to approach bringing a new baby into the family with him. We also took the infant CPR class through Providence because it had been awhile, and I also highly recommend that. Ideas on CPR change frequently enough that it's good to have a refresher course. They also went over older kid CPR, which was nice, especially thinking about how my son would be doing more things on his own in the house while I would be changing diapers, giving baths, nursing, etc. and I worried about him choking on cheerios or something ridiculous like that.
I found with my first birth that I trusted our midwife to guide me through any decision making that was necessary, and that my labor was so different from what I had prepared for that my first birth class was not actually that helpful.

If finances are an issue, you can ask about a student doula. This is a doula in training who needs a certain number of hours to become certified. Their services are generally free, and wonderful!

I wouldn't bother with the class unless you are moving from one type of birth to another. If not, it's like riding a bike - your body will know what to do and you can use the extra time to spend with your first child.

As for a doula, unless he or she offers post-partum services, don't bother. My second daughter came 2 hours after my water broke and about 1 hour after the midwife arrived. There was no time for a doula and really I didn't need a midwife until the baby's shoulder got stuck.

Mother Tree Birth Services has fantastic 2 hour seminars on the 2nd and 4th Sundays of every month. Topics are: breathing relaxation visualization massage and positioning for labor. Classes are offered at Zenana Spa & at Mother Tree Classroom www.mothertreebirth.com

Thought I didn't need a class 2nd time around. But, planned homebirth turned into induction bec of pre-eclampsia. So, missed out on sibling class (bec we weren't planning on hospital), missed out on pain mgmt refreshers (bec wasn't planning on Pitocin, which was, for me, really awful), missed out on BF tips (bec I was still nursing #1, and thought I knew it all...). Oops.

Biggest problem, however, was that our homebirth midwives thought we'd be fine. Nice to have the vote of confidence, but, they were wrong: we both badly needed reminding/refreshers. Still a bit bitter about that; feel mislead. (However, we were SOOO stressed out about having another kid, and my becoming so obviously ill, that we could only focus on getting basic day-to-day needs met anyway). Oh well!

Hi there...I teach a great "quick and dirty", essentials of birthing, childbirth class. I am a labor and delivery nurse at St. Vincent so I have lots of up to date information! Check out my website for more info. as well as private classes.
Best! Dena Holstrom, www.babyloveworkshop.com

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