1. Childbirth classes are important. If you are pregnant with your first, find one and take one. You learn a lot of terms from your doctor but a lot of doctors don't really thoroughly explain them. Also, during labor, nurses and doctors ask you a lot of questions and expect you to weigh the pros and cons quickly while you are in pain. Having a plan in place and knowing what will be thrown at you is very helpful.
2. Bringing your husband can make it awkward. Most of the guys in the class seemed a little squeamish at some of the terms. They can get on board with uterus, vagina, cervix, etc. but when you break out perineum, mucous plug, and episiotomy they start squirming. Then show them a video of a baby's head popping out followed by the delivery of the placenta, and their faces start getting pretty white. I know its different with your own kid. My husband will hopefully be able to look past the gross parts and melt at the sight of his boys being born. But in a classroom setting and some random woman's lady parts on a big screen, different story. Luckily, my hubby was working.
3. Not bringing your husband and instead bringing your friend/doula is even more awkward. I knew we only had to make it through introductions before we could explain that she was my doula and not my significant other. I'm kicking myself in the pants for not introducing us as Susan and Carol (Friends fans will get it). After explaining to the class that she was filling in for my husband who had to work, I though the awkward part was over. Silly me. Of course we're going to try out some of the labor positions and then get massages from our partners. I couldn't help but laugh the whole time. I guess if my doula will be there during labor/birth, I might as well get used to it getting awkward! She's great though, we had a lot of fun. Any day spent talking about babies is a good day for me!
4. By the end of your pregnancy, your bladder looks like a pancake. I knew that it gets squished, but actually seeing a diagram of your bladder at week 4 and again at week 40 makes you wonder how it fits any liquid in there (think grapefruit size before, chocolate chip cookie after). And I will have 2 babies laying on it. The last few weeks of my pregnancy will probably be the only time in my life I will be asking for a catheter. Side note: The lady said I should be drinking 3-4 liters of water a day. Liters? Lady, this is 'merica. I don't know what the heck you're talking about.
5. One day of growing a baby expends as much energy as walking uphill 5 miles. I have two babies I'm cooking, so I'm going to take the liberty of saying its 10 miles for me. I walked 10 miles uphill today in addition to working my job, cooking, cleaning, and taking care of my 1 year old, what have you done?
6. There are 4 stages in labor. Here's my version:
- Early labor, Phase 1: "Ouch, this really hurts, but sure, the families can come visit for a little while."
- Active labor, Phase 2: "I'm only how many centimeters? Why again do I want to avoid an epidural? Also, get the family out of here before I punch one of them!"
- Transition, Phase 3: "I'm NEVER doing this again! OOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW. I swear to sweet baby Jesus, if you touch my head one more time I'm going to throw you out the 3rd floor window."
- Birth, Phase 4: (ahhhh push it, P-P-Push it real good!) "He's here! Baby A is here! *cue the tears* Holy crap that hurt, what a big head. Wait, you mean to tell me I have to do that again?! The second one is breech? Excuse me, you're going to stick your hand where?!?!?!"
7. Yoga Balls help during labor. This one is self explanatory. I want a pink one.
8. It's helpful to bring a pair of shorts for laboring. This one wasn't really part of the class, it was a conclusion I came to after watching/trying out some of the laboring positions. I think squatting in a bottomless and backless gown is probably not so comfortable. Or attractive.
9. The "he-he-who-who" breathing is not going to help, unless your goal is to hyperventilate. Breathing through a contraction is important, but the quick short breaths in all the movies isn't going to help any. Controlled deep breaths are more helpful. Apparently, grunting through pushes is also helpful. We practiced. I'm a grunting pro now.
10. Husbands should be preparing for labor. 15-20 pushups a day and nightly massages will help him be ready to support his laboring wife. I told my husband this. He laughed. Thanks a lot, babe.
There you have it. Ten random things I learned from childbirth class. There was much more, but I won't bore you with it all. I strongly encourage all you preggo ladies to attend one. Just don't wait until right before you give birth. Watching some random lady push a baby out takes at least a month or two to recover from.