Living in Taiwan and having very little to no Chinese skills, we decided to watch a lamaze class series online in English. At 37 weeks pregnant, we made the decision with our doctor to have an induced labor. As we knew when we were expecting the baby to arrive, we wanted to make sure that we felt prepared as much as we could be for the delivery of our baby.
Online Lamaze Classes
We needed a fast way to learn everything we needed to know and lamaze classes or childbirth classes seemed to be the answer. Though a lot of people will tell you that you can’t be fully prepared for the delivery of your baby, we wanted to feel at least a little confident on the day.
Due to the time frame, this ruled out going to weekly classes in Taiwan but also online courses that run for several weeks. I knew we had two options, either find YouTube videos that will run through everything or find an online website that had videos. The problem with YouTube videos is that you most likely need to look at several different Youtubers or channels, making the flow and order of classes confusing. It could also mean that you will have information repeated from one video to the next, wasting time and getting us more frustrated than educated.
Our decision to do the lamaze classes online was also due to the language barrier here in Taiwan. I also spoke to my close friend here in Taiwan who recently had a baby this year and she mentioned that these classes were not helpful as they were simply a marketing ploy for companies to give you samples of baby products to practice and use. After doing a bit of research online, we ended up watching half of the videos available in the 51 video set from Babycenter. We skipped a few that didn’t apply to us or video topics that we felt we didn’t need to know. There were also about 10 videos out of the 51 videos available which were more testimonials and stories from other mothers, which we didn’t watch either.
Babycenter is a website that has a good source of information about pregnancy and parenthood. Because the website itself is not written by health professionals, it is important to remember that it would give you a basic overview of everything and you should seek further advice from your doctor or midwife as well.
Overall, it was good to have some kind of background before going into the labor but honestly, the content was a little basic. A lot of the stuff didn’t go through what I wanted to know either or it assumed I knew some of the drugs or terminology used when delivering a baby or were more targeted to the North American market and how delivery works there. So here are the four things I wanted to know and feel every pregnant woman should know before delivery.
1. Do I need a birthing plan?
Having a birthing plan is a wonderful way to stay informed and make the right decision for you and your baby. You might have already started this process at the beginning of your pregnancy but it is good to review your plan with your partner during the third trimester.
If you are like me and plan to have a natural birth, it is important to know ahead of time the types of drugs or medication that can be provided during the course of the delivery if the pain is unbearable. There are a lot of pros and cons about taking specific drugs during delivery and nothing should be done without your consent. This is harder to do on the day as you may feel fatigue, overwhelmed and emotional to make the right decision for you. Therefore, it’s always good to know beforehand what you ideal would like to do and have a discussion with your partner and health professional about it.
Also whether or not you want a water birth and whether this is even an option at your hospital or medical center is something you may need to plan and book ahead of time.
Of course for us, I would be getting the induced drug to kick start the labor, but overall, I wanted to minimize the use of drugs as much as possible. For me, I wanted more of a natural birth that was safe for the baby and I.
There are several drugs and aids that may be used for a number of reasons. After reading and learning about an epidural for example, the side effects, how they proceed with the drug and any discomfort, I wanted to make sure this was a last resort.
Keep an open mind that not everything will go to plan too. So although having a birthing plan is great, don’t be disheartened if it goes off plan on the day. Doctors may decide you need certain drugs, medications or procedures done for the safety of you and your baby. For example, I never planned on getting a c section but if required and strongly advised by my doctor then I would.
Update: I ended up having the epidural towards the end of labor. I was already 8cm dilated and could not bare the pain anymore. I felt tired and needed to rest but the contractions were frequent, making it difficult to rest. It was already past midnight and the nurse advised me that our baby was not descending fast enough as compared to my dilation. As a result, she said it may take another 5 to 6 hours. This was the game changer for me and I decided in that instance to have the epidural. It was also a quick decision because I had already felt informed about it and the nurse advised that if I didn’t get it now, I wouldn’t be able to later.
2. Breathing and Massage Techniques
I know breathing seems pretty easy as we do it all the time but it’s easy to forget the basic things that might help while you are in labor. For me, I wanted to know what were the best breathing techniques that I could do and that my husband could learn to help me through the contractions. I found deep breathing, in and out of the nose and mouth was best. It made me focus on something I could do.
In the lamaze class videos that we watched, there were a few massage techniques also suggested to help with the pain of the contractions. My husband and I practiced a few of these beforehand so he could know what felt good and what wasn’t helpful. This reduced any frustration on my end and allowed him to have a role during the time I had contractions.
3. Knowing when you are going into labor
Counting the seconds of how long your contractions last as well as how far apart they are from one contraction to the next is the best way to know how you are going and whether you are dilated enough to seek medical attention.
For me, I will be heading to the private medical center before my water even breaks and staying there till I deliver the baby. I understand that many women will have a different experience, where hospitals won’t allow you to stay be emitted into hospital until you are dilated at least 4 to 5cm. That’s why it is important to know your contractions.
4. How to push
Being here without family and being the first out of all my friends to be pregnant meant that I was kind of lost when it came to how to push. I wanted to make sure I read about this beforehand. It was kind of difficult to find information although a lot of people were searching for it.
Update: Now that I have given birth I just wanted to add to this post how it felt and what it is like to help others who may be looking for some sort of information on this topic. Firstly, it is literally like going to the bathroom for a number 2. When pushing, you are using the lower part of your back and butt to push out the baby. You should try as much as possible to relax your butt though when pushing and feel the push go in a downwards motion. The pain of the contractions for me were concentrated in the lower back and butt region, which I didn’t expect to happen at all.
Knowing when to push will come naturally and with the help of the nurse and doctor, you should know when to push. But basically, you need to be pushing when the contractions are happening. It will take time and don’t be upset if you feel you are not doing a good job. Remember, you might be tired, hungry and emotional so it is natural to feel like it is too difficult. But once your baby arrives in your arms, you’ll feel proud of your strength that got you through it all.
I hope all this information from my own experience doing the lamaze class online helps. Share with me in the comments below any questions or concerns as well as your experience of lamaze classes.