Frequently Asked Questions about Childbirth Education and MBCP

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How is MBCP different from other Childbirth Classes?

Generally, childbirth education classes are information-based lecture and discussion, often with videos. Typically the focus is on labor and birth, including possible interventions and procedures, and often breastfeeding and newborn care. The intentions and attitudes of a particular instructor or class location will impact what and how material is shared. 


MBCP is a childbirth education course AND mindfulness training in one. We cover evidence-based information on the physiology and anatomy of birth, the stages of labor and breastfeeding. We work with pain and fear and build a variety of tools for the individual and the couple. We develop ways to strengthen communication with our partners, our medical care providers and our families that lead to wise decision-making, and more kindness and compassion. We learn and practice skills to support your live right now that support you through whatever may happen in your birthing and parenting journey ahead.
 

No class can guarantee a specific experience or outcome.

Will this class help me have an unmedicated, vaginal birth?

In MBCP, we spend considerable time learning to engage the mind to work with pain, so that participants are prepared to use all their inner resources in labor, regardless of how their particular birth experience unfolds. The invitation is to build your toolbox to support your personal preferences, advocate for yourself, and drawn on resources within and beyond yourself.


Partners will develop skills and tools for being in service to the labor process, for being connected to their own experience and…

What if I think I want an epidural? Or need to have a Cesarean birth?

This class is for anyone giving birth. Medical interventions and procedures can be used wisely to support safe passage of mother and baby. Mindfulness holds space for all experiences with nonjudgment and compassion - there is no one way to give birth or to parent, there is the way that you find is best for you and your baby. 

AND...there will be time before an epidural can be place, or after birth when the body is recovering, when you will need to work with intense physical sensations in the body or manage the ups and downs of early parenting. So building skills now to support whatever may lie ahe

It is natural to be pregnant, for the baby to come out, and for people to want to help.

This is how we approach birth with from a mindful perspective, making space for all the ways babies come into the world and for all the ways families come into formation.


The term "natural birth" sets up unrealistic expectations and false dichotomies. 


We foster a class environment that is nonjudgmental, compassionate and supportive of the unique experience of each pregnancy and parenting process. In this way, we hope to shift the cultural expectations to be positive and nurturing, to be kind and wise and welcoming. 

What about my partner? What if I don't have a partner?

Partners are strongly encouraged to attend class – this may be a spouse, a family member, a friend or a doula. However, a pregnant person is more than welcome to come on their own. An expectant woman needs to find her own inner resources to work with her body/mind during the labor and birthing process. A birth partner will also have their own unique experience. The skills learned in MBCP can help all who will be present for the birth and primary caregivers for the newborn.

What is the difference between this class and others that have a mind/body approach?

There are many ways to use the mind in childbirth - self-hypnosis, full body relaxation, breathing techniques are certainly some of them that are often part of a childbirth class. 


To quote the Mindful Birthing Foundation:

Although the practices we learn in the Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting course definitely teach us how to work with pain during birth, we can learn so much more. Mindfulness is about learning how to live fully in each moment. Through mindfulness we wake up to our lives as we live them, becoming more aware of our automatic reactions to life around us. We learn how we might make different choices, responding to the moments of our lives with greater clarity, kindness, patience and wisdom rather than automatically reacting to how things are. This is a life skill, one that we can call on not only for birth but as we parent. So much of parenting requires us to work with our children in the present moment, just as they are. The course prepares us for parenting and for living the birthing experience and life right now in all its fullness.  As Nancy often says, “When your two year old is having a melt-down in the supermarket because you won’t buy him/her the candy bar at the check-out stand, you don’t need hypnosis, you need mindfulness!” 


Claire has been trained in the MBCP curriculum, so she knows how to skillfully guide and support these practices with a trauma-sensitive approach and upholding ethical standards of practice. Read more about Claire's training and experience as an MBCP teacher here

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When in my pregnancy should I take this class?

As a general guideline, finishing up class by the 36th week of pregnancy is recommended – as most babies arrive between 37-42 weeks. Most people take the class during their 3rd Trimester, however, some people may want to start their practice and learning much earlier. This includes people who seek the benefits of establishing or deepening a mindfulness meditation practice throughout their pregnancy, or who have a lot of fear or anxiety around childbirth, or who are experiencing other stresses in their lives at home or at work, or who are experiencing other health factors impacting pregnancy. Many studies show that stress can be a contributing factor in a number of difficult pregnancy conditions, such as preterm labor or low birth weight. 

Those who want to begin mindfulness practice earlier are welcome to enroll in the class at any point in pregnancy. 

I will be happy to speak with you about your particular situation and Estimated Due Date to find a class that works with your schedul

This is a big commitment.

In the 9-week class, we spend 2.5-3 hours together each week.  And one Saturday daytime class.

You are also invited and encouraged to practice at home for 30 minutes a day, 6 days a week. And we have a Reunion class!


In the MIL weekend, we spend a full weekend together from Friday evening through Sunday afternoon. You will be given tools to continue your practice on your own after the weekend ends.


So yes, this class is a big commitment...so is becoming a parent. What better time to begin than now?

What is the difference between MBCP and Mind in Labor?

The Mind in Labor workshop focuses on how we can use our moment-to-moment awareness to work with physical pain during childbirth. It is also a good introduction to mindfulness practice. However, it is not possible to gain the depth of understanding of mindfulness, both its power and its potential for helping us in birthing, parenting and your lives right now in just a weekend. That understanding may begin to come over time with consistent home practice and through learning with others as we do in the 9-week class. The other difference is that it is not possible in a weekend workshop to create the kind of friendships, connection and community that happens as people share experiences together over time. 

 
Sometimes people would like to take the 9-week Mindfulness-Based Childbirth & Parenting class but are unable to do so for a variety of reasons, such as scheduling or distance. Yet they have heard about this approach, know about the power of the mind, and are looking for a way to learn these skills. This workshop has been developed for these circumstances.

I would prefer private sessions to incorporate mindfulness into my parenting journey.

There are so many ways to become a parent. Whether through surrogacy, adoption or other circumstances, if you are curious about bringing mindfulness into your parenting journey, I would love to support you. We can create private sessions and customize the curriculum to best suit your needs.