Should You Take A Childbirth Class For A C-Section?

by Shannon Evans

After a long conversation with your OB-GYN, you've decided together that this baby of yours will be born via C-section. Whether it took you a while to make your peace with it or was your preference all along, women who plan to give birth non-vaginally often wonder, "Should I take a childbirth class if I'm going to have a C-section? Or is it just a big waste of time?"

Childbirth preparation educator Bailey Gaddis says she often has moms planning C-sections in her classes, which she always strongly encourages. In an interview with Romper, Gaddis says, "These women say they enjoy the classes because although they won't have use for birth positions, or understanding the common phases of a vaginal labor, they can utilize almost every other tool I teach to have a calmer experience during their surgical birth. For example, many of them say the breathing techniques, affirmations, relaxation recordings, and other techniques I offered them in class were incredibly useful before, during, and after surgery."

Additionally, Gaddis explains that she has her C-section moms create cesarean birth preferences during class to help them feel more empowered during birth. According to her, some of the most frequent preferences she sees identified are choosing to not have your arms restrained, choosing the music to be played in the delivery room, and requesting that the medical staff limits their conversation to strictly be about mom and baby. These are simple enough, but a woman might not think of them ahead of time were she not in a childbirth class empowering her to do so.

Jamie O'Day, founder of private nursing company Boston NAPS, also affirms the importance of childbirth classes for women planning a C-section. O'Day tells Romper:

"While most people assume a childbirth class only discusses labor and vaginal birth, most actually cover an array of topics related to pregnancy, childbirth, the postpartum period, and vaginal deliveries versus C-section. Many classes will review the anatomy of pregnancy, reasons to call your doctor, common ailments seen in pregnancy and remedies for those, Braxton hicks (warm-up contractions) versus real contractions, breathing exercises, as well as the different stages of labor, and what to expect during each stage. Most classes then also discuss a vaginal delivery versus C-section (and may even show a video of each), and what to expect as it relates to your hospital stay and recovery."

Well when you put it that way, it seems like a no-brainer.

O'Day also points out that it's not impossible for a woman who is planning a C-section to find herself in labor before the scheduled date, in which case learning the basics of how to stay calm and manage the pain would certainly be something you need to know.

The bottom line? Nothing that can potentially make your birthing experience even a little bit better is ever a waste of time, and a quality class can provide you with invaluable information you need to know. Plus, it's always fun to watch your partner do ridiculous breathing exercises.