I’ve been meaning for many weeks to return to the active birth classes I participated in during my first pregnancy. But with Babe around its been a struggle to find the time and make it a priority. As labor draws ever closer, it’s gone up on the priority list.
All week we had planned our schedule to accommodate my evening out and it worked a treat. Tea was cooked and eaten early and despite Babe crying when I left the house at 6pm, she and daddy had a great time without me for the next three hours.
Despite running in (after the two flights of stairs) thinking I was late somewhat breathless, it turned out I was in good time. So I didn’t need to nearly run those teenagers over on my way, but never mind, hopefully it taught them a lesson.
For the first time in a good few weeks I didn’t feel huge, surrounded by other pregnant mama’s, some who were up to 35 and 37 weeks gone. I felt an idiot for wearing my jeans though, everyone else was in yoga pants or leggings. What had I been thinking? At least my bare feet didn’t look too bad, the red nail varnish I’d applied rather badly the other day was looking surprisingly OK from a distance. Luckily my top was not lasagna splattered or toddler snot smeared, so it turned out apart from looking a little unsuitably dressed, I didn’t look a total scruff.
What’s involved in this two-hour session?
Obviously there is some yoga. I’m not usually a yoga goer/doer, but its great in pregnancy.
They also cover breathing exercises - in through the nose for 1,2,3 and out through the mouth (like breathing through a straw) for 1,2,3,4,5,6. Those of you who haven’t been through labor or childbirth might think this kind of stuff is time-wasting and just designed to make you look stupid. It’s not, trust me, its important. If you want to stay in control and not melt down into a frenzied state of pain ridden panic, for many its a god send. This is not the only breathing excercise we did, I don’t recall the other stuff too well.
Quite a bit of time is also focused on relaxation and visualisation. Which included some chanting…oooo….aaaaaa……eeeee (I’m going for doe…. ray…. me….). When I first went to these classes almost three years ago, this stuff cracked me up big time. I really struggled to stifle my giggles and sniggers, peeping with one eye open to see how the others were reacting. This time I was conditioned and prepared, and it all seemed very normal to me – I wasn’t going to be brandished the immature newbie today.
Finally we also talk about active birth were the teacher educates us on the natural physiological process of birth, and teaches us how to promote the production of key hormones that will enhance own body’s natural coping mechanisms in labour and birth. Sounds like hippy fluffy stuff, but this is the real business – and it works. I couldn’t have done my natural birth last time around without this knowledge. It was so nice to be reminded of all the things I’d forgotten and to learn lots of new techniques.
If you want to know more, check out the Birthwise website. I’m afraid they only do classes in Devon, but it’s still a great resource for learning more about the concept.