February 14, 2019
What's Love Got to Do with It? Fostering Affection in Childbirth Classes
By: Sharon Muza, BS, LCCE, FACCE, CD/BDT(DONA), CLE | 0 Comments
Today is Valentine’s Day in the United States and many other places around the world. It is a day for love and romance and celebrating relationships. As childbirth educators, we know how important it can be to have a loved one be a supportive and engaged participant in the labor and birth process. Educators can drop in little activities to help foster that connection. Here are six ideas that a childbirth educator can use to conduct lightning-fast little exercises spaced randomly throughout any birth class. These activities build connection and offer suggestions for showing love and support during labor. They do not have to be a class discussion but a moment of personal connection with each family.
1. Where do you hold tension?
Ask the support people to turn to the pregnant person and ask them where they usually hold tension. When they know where the laboring person is likely to be tensed up and tight, they can frequently remind them to relax that part and even guide them with gentle touch and massage in that spot during labor.
2. What will you say to baby when you first meet them?
Have each parent share what is the first thing they might want to tell the baby when they first hold them and look into their eyes.
3. What are you worried about?
Each parent shares what they are worried about with each other. It might the pain, it might be a cesarean, it might be something about not knowing how to help. Encouraging families to share with each other helps bring about a discussion and builds the connection.
4. What quality of each parent do you hope baby inherits?
A great chance for each family member to complement and admire the other. They cannot help but build a connection with that task!
5. What words will help during labor?
Ask pregnant people to share with their partners the specific phrases they want to hear during labor that will help them cope and remind them they are loved and supported. What words don’t they want to hear?
6. What is your love language?
While this is not a short quick exercise, educators can ask their students to determine their own love language in advance by providing them a link to some resources. Then, during class, each person can share with their partner what their love language is. This provides a basis for behaviors and actions that might be appreciated during labor and in the parenting time.
Childbirth educators have a responsibility to share facts and evidence-based information on pregnancy, birth and postpartum events with the families in their classes. But throwing in some small, quick activities that build connection and foster loving relationships takes almost no time and can be dropped in almost anywhere for a quick “Connection Break” offering. What do you do in your classes to connect the pregnant people with their support person and help build on their loving relationship? Let me know in the comments section.
TagsChildbirth education Professional Resources Sharon Muza Labor & Birth