Childbirth options cheat sheet

Did you know that Hypnobirthing and Hypnobabies are two different things? Uhh, we didn’t. A rookie-mom-to-be recently asked us via twitter about a cheat sheet for different child birth methods. When I answered that it sounded like a good assignment, she took it and ran with it (don’t tell her, but I meant assignment for us to do). Thanks so much Bri for demystifying these methods and terms.

With my first baby on the way I feel like I’ve been cramming for the biggest test I will ever take. Between getting the scoop on consumer reports stroller ratings, navigating California maternity leave laws, and catching up the latest research on child development– the idea of picking a birth method class is overwhelming. I was unable to find a quick and easy cheat sheet on my options so I jumped at the opportunity to put one together for Rookie Moms.

Child Birth Options Cheat Sheet
The important thing seems to be finding the class that fits you. Whether this is your first pregnancy or ninth each mama and pregnancy is different.

Birthing From Within: A holistic approach to child birth with a focus on physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and social preparation. Expecting parents learn pain coping strategies and physiology as well as participate in introspective activities like journaling and art projects.

Bradley Method: Once called “Husband-Coached Childbirth”, the Bradley Method is founded on the principle that with the proper education and preparation many women neither need nor want medical interference while giving birth. Bradley classes have a large focus on prenatal nutrition and exercise to prepare for child birth. Additionally, a significant amount of class time is spent training the partner how to be a labor coach.

Hypnobirthing: According to Hypnobirthers, society has made women unnecessarily fearful and apprehensive of childbirth. Fear creates tension and produces adrenaline which increases pain which increases fear and tension which increases pain; not a good cycle to get into while in labor. Hypnobirth Classes teach students relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques including using relaxation music, incorporating visualizations, and light touch massage.

Hypnobabies: This is an independent, at-home class option for expectant parents. The program is similar to the Hypnobirthing in that you learn relaxation and self-hypnosis techniques. Where in Hypnobirthing the ideal state is non-moving and quiet, a Hypnobabies program will teach mom’s how to hypnotize themselves anywhere (even while peeing). The Hypnobabies class also teach mom’s hypnotic anesthesia techniques.

International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA): As a training program for child birth educators ICEA does not advocate a particular philosophy. Each instructor will have their own philosophy within the framework of advocating for natural child birth and parents having the ability to make informed decisions based on knowledge of alternatives.

LaMaze: LaMaze may be one of the most recognizable names in birth class options. (The one with all the breathing, right?) While controlled breathing is still one tool taught. LaMaze birth classes have expanded to teach many relaxation techniques. The goal of LaMaze is for women to increase their confidence in their ability to give birth.

[Editor’s note: She didn’t include my favorite method of “whatever happens happens” with a side of heavy epidural.]

Bri writes Habbala, for Stratejoy, and is expecting her first baby (a boy!) in November. If she ran into you on the street, she would insist on buying you a cup of coffee so that the two of you could laugh, tell stories, and become great friends.

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