Pain medications, including epidurals and analgesics, are not included in the HypnoBirthing curriculum, although there are a number of other self-hypnosis childbirth classes that do include information about pain medication. A HypnoBirthing series consists of five, two-and-one-half-hour sessions. (For more information: www.hypnobirthing.com; 603-798-4781 or 603-798-3286.)
Today's Lamaze classes are less a proscribed method of delivery (characterized by their hallmark breathing exercises) as they are a philosophy aimed at reassuring women of their natural ability to give birth. Certified Lamaze instructors offer a balanced curriculum that includes an overview of the different stages of labor, the most effective birthing positions, relaxation and pain management techniques(including massage, hydrotherapy, the use of heat, cold packs, and pressure), effective communication with your birthing partner and medical team, the pros and cons of pain medication, breastfeeding, diet, and exercise as well as preparation for the postpartum period. Expect 12-15 hours of instruction. How often the class meets and (For more information: www.lamaze.org; 800-368-4404.)
Although the childbirth philosophies behind each method differ considerably in perspective and content, they all share a common goal: to help prepare you physically and mentally for the hours that will profoundly impact your life and enrich it by welcoming your new baby into the world.