Birth is the most natural process on earth and yet studies have shown that one in every four women describes giving birth as traumatic. Up to 20% meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. Research shows that women who fear childbirth experience longer labours and were more likely to need an emergency caesarean.
“There is a link between a lack of knowledge, fear and the experience of childbirth,” says Lynne Bluff, national co-ordinator for the Childbirth Educators’ Professional Forum (CBEPF). CBEPF is partnering with Bio-Oil and hospitals nationally for the ‘Empowering Birth’ Pregnancy Education Month campaign.
Good childbirth classes will equip parents with the pros and cons of all the available childbirth options. They also share practical tips and techniques for the birth and afterwards. Childbirth educators are usually nurses and midwives and parents who can share professional expertise and personal experience. Many hospitals, clinics and private practices offer classes.
“We believe that when parents are informed, any type of birth, from homebirth to caesarean, can be an empowering one. It shifts from a potentially overwhelming experience to one that is fulfilling, positive and, ultimately, beneficial to mother and child,” says Anna Guerin of Bio-Oil. “There is simply no substitute for evidence-based information provided by qualified and experienced professionals. Quality childbirth education empowers parents and properly prepares them in a warm and supportive way,” says Bluff.
Six good reasons to attend childbirth education classes
1. Expertise. Educators are experienced nurses and midwives who choose to specialise in childbirth education because they passionately believe in it.
2. Knowledge. You learn about all the childbirth options available to you, and the pros and cons of each.
3. Tools. Classes share practical tips and techniques – such as breathing, relaxation, positions, massage and visualisation – that can help you have an easier birth.
4. Confidence. You and your partner will feel less fear and more confident, knowing what to expect and how to manage it.
5. Be prepared. Classes teach all aspects of pregnancy and birth, from stretch marks to breastfeeding and caring for your newborn.
6. Connections. You’ll meet other local expectant parents and lifelong friendships can be formed.
Over 300 private hospitals and clinics around South Africa are running Pregnancy Education Month activities in February. For details, or to find a childbirth educator in your area, visit www.PregnancyEducation.co.za.
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