Yes, there are many great books out there! And I recommend that you read at least one, if not more than one; however, reading about something and practicing something hands on create 2 different results. I often use this metaphor when I discuss labour; labour is like a marathon. Let’s say you decide that you wanted to run a marathon. You go out and buy the best book about marathons that you can find and once you are finished the book you register for your first marathon. How do you think you will do? For the vast majority of us, we might make it a quarter, a third (or if you’re me maybe about 1 or 2 km) before we are hurting and probably stop and finish the race by walking. You read the book and all about the process of marathons, but without the training this knowledge did not benefit you. It is for this reason that prenatal classes are helpful in preparing for birth and early parenting. The classes give you a way to learn the material, but then solidify that knowledge through practice. Your body knows how to birth and will guide you through the process whether you attend classes or not. However, classes can teach you and give you an opportunity to practice hearing what your body is telling you so that you and your support person(s) can make your birth the most positive experience possible. Another advantage that classes have over a book is that you have the ability to ask questions and receive additional information when you are unclear.
While some companies offer classes taught by Doulas, Samara offers prenatal classes taught by Registered Nurses. Though doulas are trained in labour support and postpartum and many are often certified childbirth educators; our educators are nurses who have had medical training and have also completed additional nursing training in the specialty of Maternal Child Health. In addition, we have completed specific certifications in breastfeeding education and childbirth education. The experience we have from working with women in labour gives us a broad range of knowledge of normal birth and complicated birth allowing us to provide thorough and comprehensive classes and answer any questions you may have.
Also, our private classes offer one-on-one instruction and our group classes are a size of your choice (private group class) or a small group of no more than 6 couples. This allows for more personalized attention.
Doulas provide continuous emotional and physical support to the labouring woman and her partner, and are a positive addition to the birth team for those couples who desire extra support. Doulas do not deliver babies, nor do they provide any medical care or medical advice. Doulas work as a part of the team, with a midwife or doctor and nurse. The assistance of a Doula can lead to lower medical interventions including less Caesarean section births and enable you to focus on your work together as parents both in labour and after your baby is born. For more information about doulas, see bcdoulas.org and dona.org.
This is a personal question, only you and your partner can answer. Doulas can be a wonderful resource and research supports that the presence of an experienced labour support person can significantly decrease interventions; such as the need for medications, forceps and vacuum deliveries, etc., as well as caesarean birth. The presence of a Doula has also been shown to improve maternal satisfaction of the overall birth experience. Regrettably our medical system does not cover the cost of a doula; therefore, you would be responsible for paying for the doula services.
If you wish to have additional support through labour or postpartum but cannot afford to pay for a doula, please consider contacting the BC Doulas Association to see what options are available. In addition, you could invite a trusted friend or family member (perhaps someone who has experienced birth) to be a support person for you.
I have compiled a detailed list of trusted websites in my Online Links and Resources section I have referred to these sites as an educator and throughout my pregnancy. As a mother, I continue to consult them.
If you have registered and paid for a class and then are unable to attend because you have given birth you will be given a complete refund. If you cancel within 1 week of the scheduled class for any reason other than a medical concern then you will be charged a cancellation fee of $20. If you cancel within 24 hours of the class you will be charged half of the price of the class. If you need to cancel, please contact us by phone or email to discuss your specific situation and potential charges.
If you are registered for a private class then you may invite as many support people as you wish. Ideally, those that attend will be people that you have chosen to assist/support you through labour. If you choose a group class, the price includes two people; in most cases the second person tends to be your partner. Please call or email us if you would like to bring another support person to a group, as depending on the size of the class, there may be space for additional people.
We recommend you take classes between 32-36 weeks and if you are having multiples then we recommend classes take place between 26-32 weeks.
It is totally normal for partners to feel a little disconnected from the pregnancy and subsequent birth. It isn`t happening to them so creating that connection with the baby has perhaps been more work than ``natural``. That`s ok! Bringing your new baby into the world is a beautiful, eye opening, emotional and physical rollercoaster and not just for the mother. Prenatal classes help demystify birth a little and help you understand what to expect and how you can work with the process. At Samara we strive to make sure that partners are made comfortable through acknowledging fears, doubts, and by getting involved. We highly recommend that your partner attend the classes with you.
You will want to bring water and snacks, especially if you are attending the weekend classes. I encourage mom`s and even partners to bring a pillow or a yoga mat as you will frequently change positions during class. This is a long time to be sitting. We can also use these materials for practising labour positions and breastfeeding. I also recommend that you bring a doll or stuffed animal and a receiving blanket for the postpartum and breastfeeding portions of the class. If you are having a private class in your home please make sure that these items are on hand.
The answer is yes and no. Childbirth Education has moved away from teaching specific methods or techniques for breathing. In the past this was the only reason parents would attend prenatal classes (Lamaze), so that they could learn specific ways to breathe and /or pant for specific stages of labour. It was thought that learning specific breathing techniques and patterns would help a woman achieve an un-medicated birth. What we now know is that breathing is an invaluable tool for managing pain during labour, but that there is no “right method” for breathing. It is possible to have an un-medicated birth without using practiced breathing techniques. At Samara, we teach breathing awareness, which is just that, awareness of your breathing. So we do practice breathing in a few different rhythms to familiarize you with how effective breathing can be as a relaxation tool and to demonstrate how, with focus, it can be an extremely useful tool in managing labour pain whether you are planning an un-medicated birth or not.
If you know ahead of time, please contact us to let us know that you will be missing a class. If there is still enough time before your due date, we might be able to fit you into the next series and you can take the class that you missed (please note that this will be with a different group of people). Or if possible, your educator may be able to meet with you before or after the class to fill you in on what you missed. Either way, please contact us and we will make sure you get the information you need.
Though the main focus of our classes is the normal process of birth, we understand that there are situations when medical interventions such as C-section are necessary. We do spend time discussing medical interventions, why they may be necessary and how you can be sure to have all the right information to make an informed decision before choosing to have the intervention. Because C-sections can be planned or emergent we cover the process and reasons for a C-section in all our classes.
In my experience, I have found that many women are afraid of birth, and rightfully so when all they see of birth is the Hollywood version of women screaming, and men in masks and gloves delivering the baby in a sterile, cold environment. In reality, birth is not at all how it is depicted in Hollywood. Our classes are designed to demystify birth and take some of the fear away. It is completely normal to fear what you don’t know! At Samara we focus on presenting pregnancy and birth as a normal process in a woman’s life, one in which women inherently know how to cope with. The videos we show are often used to reinforce what has been discussed in the classes. We take care to show birth videos that are realistic without being too graphic. I encourage women and their partners to watch at least one birth if not more. Many people asked me when I was pregnant if I was scared about my upcoming birth because of “all the stuff” I had seen through my job as a labour and delivery nurse. Personally, I found that being able to watch women give birth gave me the confidence to do it myself. Watching births helped me see how strong women are, what hard work I was up for and the beautiful reward I get at the end of it. So, in my opinion, exposing yourself to birth can be a really positive thing!
RN - Registered Nurse. A Registered Nurse may have a degree or a diploma, both types use RN behind their name.
BScN – Bachelors of Science in Nursing, this is the credential given when one has competed an undergraduate degree in Nursing. Some RNs have a BSN which is a Bachelors of Nursing. This is the same thing as a BScN. Different Universities and Colleges offer different credentials, but it is all the same; an undergraduate degree in Nursing.
IBCLE – International board certified lactation consultant. This certifys that I have taken professional education in breastfeeding and lactation and have met the qualifications, such as hours of experience and examination criteria. Really, it means that I have the skills and knowledge to help breastfeeding mothers and babes when things are going well and when they are not. It doesn't mean I have all the answers but I will work with you to find the right one if I don't.
LCCE – Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator, this is from my childbirth education certification which I chose to take through Lamaze as they have a very detailed and accredited childbirth education program. Some Childbirth Educators use the credential CE, which is from certification offered through other associations.