Tuesday, 21 February 2012

My First Antenatal Class: Labour

Had the first antenatal class yesterday. Apparently the one session that they felt was sifficient 9 months ago when my sister was pregnant, is no longer good enough, so they now do three classes.

The first is about labour. I took The Bloke to this, because I was hoping they would talk about what he needs to be doing to help me whilst I'm in the biggest agony of my life.
He was quite reluctant to go, but when I reminded him that he won't need to go to the other two (pain relief and breastfeeding), and it would save him from being HUGELY nagged at, he soon shut up.

When we got there, it was interesting to see the different types of couples; a lady came with her mum, a funky looking couple with eccentric taste in clothes, an old man with a young thai girl, a very young couple and then there was us!

The midwife who ran the class tended to repeat herself an awful lot, and wouldn't stop going on about wanting donations for the packet of Jaffa Cakes she bought for the break, but other than that it was quite interesting.

My favourite bits were the following:

If you panic, the adrenaline takes over and reduces the oxytocin hormone that you need lots of. Oxytocin helps the contractions, so staying calm is vital. For anxious people like me, this will be a challenge, so The Bloke is going to have to find lots of things to say to remind me why I need to remain calm when I'm in mid panic attack.

This lovely hormone also helps you to bond with your baby after the birth, and breastfeeding helps the hormone to keep pumping out.

Breathing slowly is important, and you must not hold your breath through contractions, as the baby is already getting reduced oxygen during labour. Breathe in for 3 seconds, then breathe out for 3 seconds.

When you are asked to pant, it is so that you stop pushing down, and therefore gives your body a chance to stretch when the head is coming out. These pants also need to be slow. On TV they are usually seen as quick dog-like pants and this is the worst way to do it!

When contractions start, walking around is really important. It helps the cocyx move back and puts the pelvis in a good  position, which in turn helps the baby get down into the bottom of the pelvis easier.
It is very hard to give birth lying on your back due to the cocyx getting in the way of the baby's head- so if you have to lay down, be on your side, or be on your knees.

Your birth partner needs to be aware of your body language, as you wont always have the energy to verbalise what you need. I found this quite funny, as an example was the midwide licking her lips and saying that The Bloke should work out that this means I need a drink. I can really see him paying attention to my face for the duration: it is more likely that his head will be stuck in a crossword puzzle!
Have told him we will need to practise these signals for next couple of weeks, so here's hoping I get to use him as a waiter and masseuse ;)


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