Antenatal Class #2

Last week I mentioned that Claire and I attended our first antenatal class and that it was really informative, the second session (which was meant to be scary and so on) was probably even better than the first.

The second session primarily focuses on labor and the birth, starting out with a warm cuddly video and progressively heating up until the last one was a pretty straight up graphic of the realities of child birth. What I’ll say right off the cuff, the female body is an incredible piece of work – it really does amaze me just how much punishment it can take and just keep on giving. What was quite funny was watching some of the other people there (men & women) squirming while the video was playing and various other odds & sods were discussed.

Other information that was really good to know was what sort of options and strategies are available for women to manage their pain while going through labor and the actual birth:

  • Massage, heat and water are apparently a woman’s best friend during labor to relieve pressure on the lower back.
  • I wasn’t aware that nitrous-oxide was absorbed into the system in less than 15 seconds and is passes out of the body just as quickly; so if you don’t like the high-ish sensation or it’s distracting, it can be out of your system in a matter of seconds.
  • The idea of using pethadine as a relaxant and sedative didn’t sit well with us, as that does cross into your child and there is strong evidence to link the doziness of the baby with initial attachment issues and so on.
  • Epidurals were covered a fair bit as they are quite common these days. I didn’t know that it can take up to four hours to wear off after child birth (varies person to person). During that time, your wife is going to be bed bound as she won’t be able to feel the lower part of her body.

Next week we’re meeting with one of the anesthetists to discuss all of that in much more detail and also more strategies to increase the likelihood of an active birth with no or limited intervention. Claire and I like the idea of an active birth, however we’re open to everything that the doctors are going to throw at us. Someone said this to me a while ago (not sure who) but it sits very well with me – you’re there to have a baby, not give birth. While having your planned birth might be ideal, I’d find it hard to believe any expecting parent could find it in them to whine that they are unhappy that their partner/wife and new child came out healthy and happy after whatever intervention may have been required.

My views on all of this could change in a heartbeat as my awareness of the pro/con of the whole thing unfolds further; stay tuned.