We’ve all been told that childbirth is painful. But, thanks to the growing support of the parenting community, expectant mothers have discovered that they could be in control of their physical, emotional and mental condition during labor through mindful preparation. One of the ways to do this is to attend a birthing class. Whether you are going for an epidural or sticking to natural childbirth, here are birthing classes you can attend for a smooth-sailing and positive birthing experience.
Birthing is a Blessing
Led by Betty Lugay-San Luis, a certified doula and a professional labor coach with Childbirth International and her husband, Manny R. San Luis, a professional trainer and an HR practitioner, this childbirth mentoring and doula support service aims to "mother the birthing mother." The advantage of attending class here is the teaching method is very personal because Betty and Manny work as couple facilitators.
“In this one-day workshop, we prepare the expectant parents' mind, body, heart, and spirit not only for their baby's birth but their birth as parents as well. Aside from covering different natural and gentle birthing philosophies, we incorporate our philosophies of empowered birthing, having birthed our five children naturally. As a doula, I share practical tips to the parents, with my experiences of births in hospitals, homes and birthing home,” shares Betty.
“We work on the fears of the expectant mom and dad, and give them confidence through activities such as birth art, reflection, movements, breathing, and exercises that they can do alone or as a couple. We also put emphasis on the husbands or partners. Dads also need to feel at ease and discover their important role as a support to the birthing mom. Our graduates come back and pay it forward by sharing their birth and early parenting stories to the class, whether the outcome of the birth was natural, medicated or cesarean.”
One of their students, Lougee Basabas-Alejandro, mom to Leon, 6 months old, shares, “I believe that attending a birth class was one of the best decisions we ever made. My husband and I learned a lot and connected more after the workshop. It prepared us as a family. It gave us the confidence and knowledge that we needed to make informed decisions related to our birth plan. Doula Betty is our birth angel. She guided us all the way, and she was open-minded and reassuring. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to do a natural birth if it wasn’t for her.”
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Visit their Facebook page or call 0916-520-57-87 or email email@example.com for more information.
Chiqui Brosas-Hahn is considered as the pioneer in childbirth classes in Manila. An in-demand childbirth educator and doula, Chiqui conducts classes all year round, usually in a series of four Sundays. Through these sessions, she has helped educate couples and empower the mom-to-be.
Aside from being an educator (and a financial adviser), Chiqui also offers other services, including Placenta Encapsulation (a process by which the placenta is dehydrated, powdered, and placed in capsules for easy ingestion) and Placenta Tincture (extracting liquid from the placenta). Both of these are said to offer many benefits to a new mom, such as decreasing the chances of postpartum depression, and increasing stamina and mental clarity, to name a few.
Trina Relampagos, mom to Tyler, 10, and Kiana, 1, says that the learnings were useful for both her pregnancies despite the birth gap. “We had a great experience in Chiqui's class, and we used everything we learned -- from the day we finished our class, on to the Lamaze delivery room, when I gave birth to our first child, and all the way to our second child. It did not only help us as a couple, but we were able to give a few tips to family and friends who were also having babies themselves. Definitely worth it! It was a quick transition from clueless soon-to-be parents to educated parents.”
March classes will be held in Mindchamps San Juan and in Quezon City. In April, there will be two whole-day sessions in Makati. Fee for couples for the whole series is P4,950. To pre-register, visit their website, or call 0920-905-2737.
Irina Otmakhova, a certified doula who has worked with countless women of different ages, races and social status, believes that it is wise to get the services of a doula because it is a valuable investment in the health and well-being of mothers and babies. She emphasizes that her role does not replace the husband in the birth process; they complement the couple's work so they could give the mom encouragement throughout the experience.
Apart from doula services and childbirth education, Conscious Birth Manila also has a unique postpartum care service called Mother Honoring, which includes Birth Sealing, Bengkung Belly Bind and Postpartum Herbal Care. They can also create a DNA Keepsake Jewelry for you -- a pendant that contains your baby’s hair, a piece of the umbilical cord, breast milk, or placenta powder, which can then be worn as a necklace.
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Martine De Luna, mom to Vito, 7 and Krista, 5 says ”I was able to have a say in everything about my birth experience, and I took my birth plan very seriously so that I would have a truly gentle birth, the kind of birth I wanted. The daily meditations, prayers and birth affirmations helped to shift my beliefs; I was a confident, strong woman, and my body was made perfectly to birth children. The loving support of my husband and my doula gave me the assurance that birth need not be something I would have to go through alone.”
Check out their website for more information on services and rates.
Rome Kanapi is a certified childbirth educator under the Philippine Association for Childbirth Education (PACE) and a member of the International Childbirth Education Association. Her classes, held in Ateneo de Manila and Forbes Park Makati for six consecutive Sundays, teach basic breathing and stretching exercises, stages of labor and other information backed up by research and from her past students’ experiences. What moms-to-be love about the classes is that learning doesn’t stop after the six sessions; you grow as a community. If you research on Rome Kanapi, you will see Facebook groups created from different batches, which just shows how an intimate group of learners become a family.
Joy Villarama Luz, mom to Juliana, 7 and Joaquin, 3 says, “Childbirth classes with Rome helped us so much as first-time parents. It made us feel more confident and prepared when it came to making sound choices without sacrificing our needs and some wants. Attending her Sunday morning sessions was a commitment for us, and it made us gain a network of mommy and daddy friends, whom we still keep in touch. Sharing her journey as a mother helped me feel that I am not alone and that I can also be as strong and ready as the others. I definitely recommend it to other moms as a way to pay it forward as I was also helped by the Mommies before me in my workplace.”
Fee for six sessions per couple is at P6,000. Call 436-1757 or 0917-541-5114 for the updated class schedule.
Childbirth is very unpredictable, and as much as all moms would like to have a vaginal delivery, the goal of every birthing class is to create a woman who is decisive and can adapt to whatever situation she is faced with, like an emergency CS or other complications. Birthing classes may not be for everyone, but there’s no harm being in full gear when it comes to welcoming motherhood.