The Benefits of Group Visits and Birth Classes

Group Visits
I have been so lucky with my prenatal care experience this time around with Hattie. So lucky, that I’m now partnering with my birthing center, Baby+Co, to tell you mamas-to-be all about my experience taking group classes at Baby+Co! Baby+Co’s slogan says it all: A modern birth center, built on evidence, delivered with love. Learn more about Baby+Co here.

In my previous prenatal care at a traditional OBGYN, I was given pamphlets for classes to take at the local hospital to prepare for the birth of my son. These pamphlets, among others, were placed on top of my things-to-do pile, where they were quickly covered with other just as important things I must do until I could no longer see or remember them. These birth classes at the hospital were my only opportunity to connect with other pregnant mothers when I was pregnant with my son. I didn’t take the opportunity to do these classes because they didn’t seem that important. I wasn’t told about them frequently by my OB. I wasn’t reminded of their usefulness. They were simply information thrown at me with a slew of other information that was just as important, but probably didn’t get the attention it deserved.

One of the many aspects of my prenatal care that differs with Baby+Co are the opportunities to connect with other moms-to-be in a group setting. The first of these is at group trimester visits, and the next is at the required birth class. Both of these provide moms with the opportunity to learn in a group environment that lacks pressure and formality. These are the times where you may be learning lots of facts, but you’re also connecting with moms and building a foundation for a safe birth environment.

While I missed the first trimester group visit due to scheduling conflicts, Jordan and I were able to attend the second trimester group visit back in June. There were about eight moms and their partners in our second trimester group. Lorraine, a lactation consultant and educator at the center, talked to us about our fears going into our second trimester, sex, preparing our relationship for a new baby, explained the upcoming glucose test, and everything in-between. While she spoke to us, one by one we went and had our vitals checked and heard our baby’s heartbeat with the midwife.

One on one care during pregnancy is essential and the norm, but having group visits each trimester provides the perfect complement to these regular visits. At our group visit, other moms would ask questions that maybe I was too afraid to ask. We shared our fears and concerns for the rest of our pregnancy, childbirth, and newborn care. There was an open, safe atmosphere in the room that allowed us all to connect and not hold back. There were no “stupid questions” or judgement. Each mom had a different story but we all connected in the fact that we were in the same stage of pregnancy, going through the same trials, fears, emotions, and excitement.  Even though I wasn’t a first time mom, having five years between my children means that it all feels brand new again. The staff and other moms made me feel like every emotion I was feeling was completely normal. I’m excited to have my third trimester group visit this coming week!

Last Sunday, Jordan and I attended the required birth class. Since I’m a second-time mom, I only had to take the 4-hour refresher course, but since this is Jordan’s first child, we decided to do the 8-hour class instead. Baby+Co provides the option to take these classes weekly at night or all day on a Sunday. Jordan and I live about 40 minutes from the birth center when there’s zero traffic, so taking it all in one day instead of weekly made more sense for us.

Lorraine was our birth class teacher yet again and made sure we were in a safe, comfortable environment with the other couples. I believe there were twelve couples in total, so it was a rather big class, but we all seemed to connect instantly and that made the day go by quickly. Lorraine taught us exactly what happens during labor and birth, when to call or come into the birth center, coping techniques for pain, and how our partner can assist us through it all. I could practically see Jordan’s wheels turning as she spoke, soaking in all the precious information. There was a lot of demonstration and then hands-on learning.

At the end, we were able to apply the techniques that we learned using ice cubes as a pain example and having our partner help us work through it. Jordan did a great job rubbing my back as I laid forward over the bed in the birth suite while sitting on a birthing ball. It really got us in the mindset for labor and I was able to see that calming music really helped ground me and allowed me to focus on my breathing. After taking Lorraine’s birthing class, I feel much more prepared going into my second birth. As you know, Jude’s was anything but calm and I’m determined to have a different birth experience. I’m really excited to apply what we’ve learned sometime in the next few weeks when baby girl arrives. (Is it really almost time for her to be here?!?!)

group visits
35 weeks, 1 day – ALMOST THERE!!

Does this sound like the supportive environment you’re looking for in your next birth? I’d love to chat more with you about my experiences and why I chose a birth center birth for baby two. Leave a comment below so we can talk and be sure to click on a Baby+Co link in this post so you can see what they’re all about! Hopefully I’ll be running into you at the birth center too – please say hello!