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Has anyone done an Active Birthing Workshop / set of classes? Was it worth it?

(20 Posts)
Boobz Wed 20-Aug-08 21:03:47

Hi all,

Am thinking of going on an Active Birthing workshop in North London (one of those weekend courses for £200 or so) and was wondering if anyone else has done one and whether it was any good and worth the money?

Am reading all the home birth / active birth books -- so do you think I am doing overkill and don't need to do the actual course too?

A

Twinklemegan Wed 20-Aug-08 21:12:22

Personally I wouldn't bother, but I know many will disagree with me. IME nothing at all can prepare you for the reality of giving birth and I guarantee you will forget what you read/were taught and have to go with your body on the day. I just don't believe you can be "taught" or "learn" how to give birth.

S1ur Wed 20-Aug-08 21:15:11

It was useful for giving ideas of different positions, breathing techniques and giving confidence that you can go with you instincts.

I disagree you will becessarily forget it all, certain positions came back to me and certain movements that helped.

I liked it. But books would prob be enough I think. It is expensive and I only did an afternoon thing.

Uranus Wed 20-Aug-08 21:15:57

I did the weekend course with Janet Balaskas. It was realy good. She gave a very balanced approach, and most importantly let us realise that things aren't always in control so not to feel disappointed if brth ends in a c-section. A lot of us did end up with sections, and no-one had an issue with it, whereas friends who did NCT all feel failures for having sections. We met some really great couples on the course too, and all stay in touch 3 years doen the line.

bythepowerofgreyskull Wed 20-Aug-08 21:18:55

we did them loved them, very much enjoyed using the techniques
I totally disagree with Twinklemegan, I think that places like this help you to UNLEARN the things that crap episodes of ER and casualty have taught us over the years about how to give birth.
The idea of squatting to give birth, wierd! moving around to keep things moving and help the baby wriggle through your pelvic area..

none of the go into labour wait to be told what to do from there on by midwives who are stretched for time and tired and trying their best to juggle 2-3 ladies like you at one time.

Good luck - ENJOY!!!!

Twinklemegan Wed 20-Aug-08 22:29:45

Yes but you can get all that from books. You don't need to pay hundreds of pounds for a course IMO. I knew all that, to be honest I did remember it all - it's more that I was physically incapable of implementing it because I was in so much agony I couldn't even move, let alone be "active". The "active" bit still gives me nightmares to this day.

I didn't want to go into detail because I don't want to scare Boobz (I'm guessing it's your first?) But I had a horrendous birth and I do feel I had unrealistic expectations of what I personally could achieve based on the books I'd read and the short course I attended (admittedly not an expensive workshop). If you go into it with your eyes open, and keep a very open mind about how things go, then it probably wouldn't do any harm. But fgs don't be disappointed or blame yourself if it doesn't work out how you were told it would.

QuintessentialShadows Wed 20-Aug-08 22:32:46

I did. Waste of time, waste of money. The other thing is that it is not necessarily so realistic for everybody to achieve an active birth. The one we went to were making it seem so simple, and gave the impression you had "failed" if you ended up not giving birth squatting on the floor with scented candles, listening to Enya and with no painrelief. (Candles were not allowed in the hospital, open flames could ignate the gas and air... Kaboom!)

I did ante natal Yoga, NCT antenatal classes, and an active birth weekend. Out of the three, the NCT ante natal classes were ACE!

TenaciousG Wed 20-Aug-08 23:14:07

Hi Boobz,

DP and I did an Active Birth day long class, run by the same woman who I did ante natal yoga with (it was a lot less than £200 tho - ouch). I found it useful, and dp found it really useful (he was regaling childless firends afterwards with the details of transition etc); for me, I found it helped us to focus on the birth, and provided far more detailed info than the classes we went to on the NHS.

I think you have mentioned before you wanted a home birth? That is what I had planned, and obv at the time I did the classes it was wwith this in mind. However, after a long and non eventful labour, I went into hospital and ended up having artificial membrane rupture, oxytocin drip, foetal monitoring, epidural, ventouse and episiotomy - everything I'd not wanted, lol. But I felt calm and happy and accepting all the way through, and really enjoyed my birth experience despite it not being what I had originally envisioned.

I really think that my positive experience was partly down to the AB day we had done - although it was far removed from an AB, I had at no time any sense of having failed; I felt very much in control of the fact that I had had to relinquish control, iyswim, and I was totally mellow and going with the flow (although some of that might have been down to morphine lol).

I also think the fact that my dp was well prepared and well informed about everything helped him give me better support (not that he would have been flailing about like Frank Spencer or anything otherwise, he's very lovely and capable, but I think it helped him go the extra mile).

Anyway, I would recommend it, but I think I would shop around and see if there is anything a bit cheaper than £200 (and tbh I don't know what they could say that would take a whole weekend) - as you can see on here, people have had mixed experiences, and what works for one person isn't necessarily going to be right for someone else.

Apols for rambling on... good luck whatever you decide.

tostaky Thu 21-Aug-08 08:06:56

I did think about doing the active birth workshop but as it is expensive i opted for pregnancy yoga and i dont regret my choice one minute! My teacher's great and i really like what we are learning. Lots cheaper too and it is not a one-off workshop.. i'm going religiously every week! (im still PG so cant say its useful, re-labour)

CouldYouWouldYouWithaGoat Thu 21-Aug-08 08:10:51

i did an active birth yoga class. it did help me during labour. i did end up with a section but the class had included lots of woman coming back to tell their birth stories. one of them had been identical to mine so it helped me stay calm and i knew what was happening.

do the course.

treacletart Thu 21-Aug-08 08:25:02

I went to active birth classes before ds was born and I'm so glad I did. I was planning a hospital/water birth but the majority of women I met there were hoping for home births (there's a very high home birth rate here). Ironically I was one of the few that ended up giving birth at home as he came so quickly I couldn't get to the hospital. The classes really helped me to stay calm and to be honest the ambulance crew too - who had never been at a birth, I found out afterwards! I also learnt some positions and techniques that helped to slow things down enough to wait for the midwife to arrive (literally 5 mins before he came out). Like TenaciousG says, the classes should help you deal with whatever way your birth experience turns out, and I met some really nice people too. It was a while back now but mine were £8 for about an hour and a half session and now I'm thinking back, we did a morning session for partners too. I'd say it was worth it.

Boobz Thu 21-Aug-08 08:28:43

Thanks everyone -- seems like a mixed bag of reaction and emotion tied up in the expectation of an active birth as well as the actual work shop itself.

Twinkle -- I'm sorry your birth didn't go to plan and you don't have to worry about scaring me -- I've heard and read some pretty scary stories on here and in RL. I know it won't really prepare me for my first labour and birth, but knowing what my ideal would be, and trying to achieve that, and then seeing where I end up in reality is probably the best I can hope for. Having read the books, I figured going to a class might cement the ideas (even if I don't consciously remember them, or end up having all sorts of interventions and can't use them!)

I am starting a pregnancy yoga class in September so I'll see how that goes first and then go from there.

I am an idealist, rather than a realist, so I do hope I get my active home water birth -- but hopefully I won't beat myself up too much if I have all the procedures from an induction to a c-section at the end of the day.

TheBlonde Thu 21-Aug-08 08:40:53

I didn't do active birth workshops but this class yoga birth
It was useful and not £200!

Twinklemegan Thu 21-Aug-08 20:45:20

That's good Boobz and I hope it works out for you. FWIW, I did have a completely natural birth with no interventions. Just an extremely long, difficult and painful one.

And having thought about it some more, active birthing probably did help me avoid intervention. In fact I remember being told that at the time. It's just that it wasn't happy clappy, scented candles active birthing a la the books. It was the midwife forcing me to move around to try and get DS unstuck. And in the end I had to lie on the bed on my back, because that is actually the only way they could make DS come out!

So actually, ignore me, and as long as you are prepared for it not to be quite as the books describe you'll be just fine. [samile]

Thomcat Thu 21-Aug-08 20:50:53

I did active birth classes with all 3 of my DC.
It was only once I'd joined that it dawned on me that this would be my birth and I could state the rules. I decided that I would not be on my back and a whole new way of giving birth opened up to me.

When I went into labour I was calm and in control.

As I enjoyed the classes so much I decided to go back again with my next 2 pregnancies.

It was a really nice way to sepend a couple of hours once a wee, something for me. And as it happens I also got something out of each and every class and in all 3 labours I didn't have so much as a paracetamol. i tried gas & air with DD3 but only after she was born. Perhaps I would have had such lovely births without eh classes but who knows, they worked for me and I enjoyed them.

Twinklemegan Thu 21-Aug-08 20:55:37

That's really good Thomcat, but I think you were extremely lucky to have straightforward births. I really don't think all that was down to active birthing!

Thomcat Thu 21-Aug-08 20:56:54

Hmmm no, it may well not have been down to active birthing, but my attitude going into labour was down to active birthing and that from the word go was always going to be a positive, helpful thing.

nickie2 Thu 21-Aug-08 21:19:55

if you can find a yoga class that incorporates active birthing that's a really good idea. my yoga class is active birth and it's really interesting and makes me feel more prepared for the birth. it hasn't yet, so maybe it'll all be useless, but for now, it's a really nice class and I've learned much more there than the nhs antenatal classes.

TreadmillMom Thu 21-Aug-08 22:05:57

Hiya, I haven't read all the posts so forgive me if I duplicate anything but I am a huge fan of Active Birth.
I attended a 4 week course with Lyndsey Clarke, Solihull and I swear without it I would of lost the plot during DS2s birth. I had a HB and the MWs couldn't get the gas and air going, as my mind started to wonder and I thought I'd lose the plot due to the pain I thought, no, stop, you've been taught what to do, get on with it and focus. I did, and it was a fabulous labour, no pain relief, no tears.
The excersises pre labour help to get the baby into the optimum birthing position and helps you get all nice and supple.
The breathing and 'moving' techniques really help you deal with the pain, it hurts like hell but the excersises help you stay in control and relaxed believe it or not.
The birthing positions again make delivery so much easier, I can tell, DS1 was born in hospital on my back and there was significantly less pain with DS2 kneeling on my knees.
DC3 is due in 5 weeks so I've just done a 3 week refresher.
£200 is well steep in my opinion though, my course was under a quarter of that.

Thomcat Thu 21-Aug-08 22:12:11

I paid £10 a lesson and went from 20 weeks each time.

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