So, there are many DVD’s/pamphlets and sources of information out there on child birth and the run up to child birth. I find great value in actually being able to speak with someone to get the human perspective. I also think that for something so ‘natural‘ that most of us are still all petrified about, something that may be a one off like your wedding day – you’d like to be as informed and prepared as possible.
I was recommended Julie Adam (Blackheath, London) as a prenatal yoga teacher by Elaine, one of my NCT ladies. I had honestly been struggling to find any drop in antenatal yoga classes anywhere local to me in Surrey Quays. In a way I guess it makes sense. As much as I feel there are hundreds of us pregnant women around, we’re still quite a low percentage, all with different schedules and antenatal yoga classes are quite specialist. So teachers who hire out and pay for spaces really need to make sure you attend otherwise they lose out. Hence what I had found is that most classes are course rather than drop in classes (but back to the original point… still nothing really in my immediate area). However, I digress…
Having emailed Julie a couple of times, we discovered a space with her one weekend specifically to do some Antenatal Yoga with Julie. Having always done some form of exercise, I wanted to at least have my 1st session with a teacher to make sure I was doing the correct postures and thinking the right way.
YOGA: Julie was great. Julie exuded the calm frame of mind generally that I think you need when you’re doing these exercises but more importantly when you prepare for labour. The whole experience was really lovely. There was free parking at the venue (hassle number 1 removed), the room was set with candles, a general oxytocin provoking environment, it was warm, all the equipment was already there for you… just from start to finish quite a hassle free experience. Then the lesson itself was a very good mixture of actual exercise (but not too stressful), ways to help keep you mobile (helping to ease my geriatric hips), positions for birth, breathing and relaxing. I think what I liked about these classes is that they are very geared towards getting you to labour day rather than a standard yoga class that happens to be adapted for pregnant women. Very different mind set and a very different type of class.
ACTIVE BIRTHING CLASS: Well, following on from the yoga session it made sense to me to try the Active Birthing class. I would describe this as a step up from Antenatal Yoga, where you and your partner really start preparing for the imminent arrival of your little one. It is almost like a practical run through, but most importantly the focus is on keeping you active & in control (rather than passive) during childbirth.
Was it a good class? Yes. Again what is useful in these classes is that Julie takes you through expectations of the stages of labour (solidifying what I’d learned at NCT classes), pain management techniques that you can generate yourself (breathing/visualisation/massage) and positions that will help with the pain and also make it easier for baby to come out. It really helps you focus on the positive things you can do yourself to help you through what will be a bit of a shock to the system. I like to arm myself with information and this is a very practical guide (minus the pain), almost a run through, of what to expect on the day.
Rather importantly the hubbies are there through this whole session. This is a great class specifically for this (as I found generally also with the NCT classes) because the hubbies can hear about the stages we will be going through so they can understand what is going on. It also helps them understand there really is an role for them at this crucial time and that there are things they can do to make it better.