We chatted to Registered Midwife/Nurse & Childbirth Educator Monique Maitland from The Middee Society about the benefits, what you need to consider, and how to choose the right birthing class.
Q1. Are childbirth classes worth the effort & are they beneficial?
As a practicing midwife I have supported hundreds of women across pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I have seen the many benefits of preparation prior to childbirth. I am often asked ‘are childbirth classes beneficial?’.
Just like everything we do in life, from learning to ride a bike, taking a test or driving a car we educate and prepare ourselves first. So why when it comes to labour and birth do, we not always take it upon ourselves to prepare?
I'm here to tell you that ‘winging it’ is not the best answer.
Preparation prior to giving birth can set yourself up for a more empowering, positive, and magical birthing experience. Knowledge is power.
There is a lot of information online, tips on social media and endless podcasts with pregnancy advise and tips - at times it can be overwhelming to find exactly what you’re looking for. Of the information available, not all of it is reliable or even accurate. It is always good to understand the qualifications of the person giving advice.
Many podcasts and blogs created by mums are great reading and listening but often reflect the creator’s own personal experience that may not be relate to all pregnancies. The education provided may not be entirely true.
Childbirth education classes are facilitated by experts within the profession so you can be assured that the education you are receiving is up to date & evidence based. You will also be able to ask questions about your own experiences.
Q2. Why is education so important?
Childbirth education is an invaluable investment as it sets you up in the best position to bring your baby into the world. It provides you with the knowledge and tools to advocate for yourself and your baby.
Only by choosing childbirth education classes run by trained experts within the profession, can you be assured that the education you are receiving is up to date & researched and reliable.
The most common topics covered in antenatal classes include:
- Identifying when labour is starting
- How to best manage early labour
- When to come into hospital
- The stages of labour
- Boosting oxytocin
- Pain relief options in labour - nonpharmacological vs pharmacological
- Birthing your baby
- Nappy changes / Swaddling
- Advocating for yourself and making decisions
Q2. Where can you access childbirth education?
Childbirth education can be accessed in multiple ways. Whether that’s by signing up to a birthing class either privately or through the hospital, listening to midwifery-based podcasts or reading books.
There are several factors to consider. It is always best to do your own research first and find an educator that is the best fit for you.
Some factors to consider when choosing a birthing class include:
- Consider when choosing a birthing class whether you will get hands-on experience.
- Sometimes hospital classes may not be face to face and expecting parents can miss out on learning vital education like massage techniques for labour, changing a nappy & swaddling.
- Online vs in person classes. Some women may not feel comfortable attending a class face to face and that is totally fine. Educating yourself online is still a great option. As well as this, some women may choose to do online classes as they want to be taught by a specific educator who lives within another state.
- I believe it is important to know the qualifications of the educator prior to booking a class. There are classes out there where the education being provided is by someone who has never actually worked with a birthing woman, and I do think this is important to consider (would you learn to drive a car off someone who has never driven one? No).
- On top of this, it is important to look at educators who have practiced within their profession in the last few years because this highlights that their knowledge is up to date with the latest evidence.
So, take it upon yourself and get educated today to enable you to have that magical birthing experience you desire. It is never too early or too late to start.
Q3. We love your podcast & the information you share with your listeners. What other podcasts can you recommend?
The podcast space has certainly grown rapidly within the last couple of years with so many great shows being produced which are hosted by Midwives.
- Middee – Monique Maitland (my podcast)
- The Midwives Cauldron - Katie James & Rachel Reed
- Growing - Beth Ryan
- The Moment - Claire Andrews
- Baby Baking + Kid Raising - Aliza Carr + Joseph Sgroi (Obstetrician)
- Pregnancy Uncut: Dr Alex Umbers & Dr Kara Thompson
Q4. What are some good books would you recommend?
- The Complete Australian Guide to pregnancy & birth - Jodi Wilson, Sophie Walker
- Reclaiming Childbirth as a Rite of Passage - Rachel Reed
- Birth after Caesarean - Hazel Keedle
Monique Maitland is a Registered Midwife/Nurse from Melbourne, founder of The Middee Society The Middee Society provides Childbirth Education and Classes & Monique hosts podcast series ‘Middee’ providing modern-day midwifery, pre and post natal community education.