Friday, May 24, 2013

2013 Childbirth Education Blog Carnival: Lights! Camera! Childbirth Education!

Welcome to Day #5 of the Blog Carnival honoring 
the International Week for Respecting Childbirth.  
We are focusing this Blog Carnival on the importance of childbirth education!

Lights! Camera! Childbirth Education!
by Michal Klau-Stevens

Contrary to popular belief, watching reality birth TV shows like “A Baby Story” does not constitute childbirth education.  Women should understand that while you feel like you are watching a birth from inside the delivery room, what you are really watching is a highly edited soap opera.  The woman giving birth has often had her labor artificially started, sped up by drugs, optimized for filming schedules, and managed to conform to hospital schedules and regulations (and carefully overseen to avoid lawsuits because everything happening is captured on video).  The boring parts end up on the cutting room floor, and the exciting, scary, or emotional parts have been hyped up with tension-inducing music and quick-cut editing.  A process that has really taken up to 24 hours to transpire has been whittled down to a half-hour snippet of tantalizing mom-to-be “birth porn” meant to excite women who have no other way of viewing birth from a more realistic perspective.

Quality childbirth education is the next-best thing to actually observing another woman giving birth. 
You learn how your body naturally works to birth a baby, techniques to prepare you for the physical and mental work of labor, and common interventions that might become necessary and why you might or might not need or benefit from them.  You gain an understanding of the issues surrounding giving birth in an environment that is more accustomed to processing you through a system than providing you with individualized care, and you learn methods to give you the best chance of getting quality care suited to your specific needs.

You also build your community by sharing a common experience with other pregnant couples.  That social support is priceless during pregnancy; a time that can be challenging, nerve wracking, and exciting.  As important as it is for you, it can be even more important for your man, who may not have anyone else to connect with about his concerns and needs for the birth of his child.

Seeing more realistic images and videos of real births, having a teacher who can answer your questions, making friends, and learning good information and skills are hallmarks of a good childbirth education experience.  The real thing is NOT like what you usually see on TV!  Birth is a situation where the less drama you have, the better.  Childbirth education helps you be a NO DRAMA MAMA!

Michal Klau-Stevens is the President of BirthNetwork National, an expert on consumer maternity care issues, a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, and mother of three active boys.

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