Childbirth Education: With The Pelvic Floor In Mind!

Did you know that only about 50% of expectant parents take any kind of birth preparation
course? It’s sort of staggering when you think about it.

We take Driver’s Ed before getting our license, enroll in higher education to become a teacher,
doctor, or social worker. There are endless online videos and platforms that will teach you how
to caramelize onions or play the harmonica – but having a baby – literally getting a human being
out of your body (and keeping it alive!)- that’s something a lot of people think they can just

There’s usually a moment in the second or third trimester when it dawns on you that you have to
give birth. That one way, or another, the baby you’re growing on the inside has to… get out and
at that moment (if not before) you might look for resources to help you sort out how to prepare
for labor and delivery.

Childbirth Education or “birth classes” don’t always have the best reputation. While some people
are excited to practice breathing techniques, others worry that sitting through a local a class will
be a waste of time and money. So, when it comes to childbirth ed do you really need to take a
class? And, if so, what options out there are most mindful of pelvic health and wellbeing.

Why Should I Take a Childbirth Education Class?

As someone who’s been teaching childbirth education and early parenthood classes for over a
decade, I’ve learned three things.

1. Your birth story matters. How you welcome your baby into the world (and I don’t mean
vaginally or via cesarean birth), – meaning how you’re treated throughout the process
and therefore the story you tell yourself about your body, your ability to care for your
baby, and your position within institutional power dynamics – is woven into the fiber of
your identity for the rest of your life.

2. You have more control than you think. It’s easy to feel powerless going into someone
so big and unpredictable. And it’s true that you can’t guarantee a short, easy, vaginal
birth (or your hopeful equivalent). But, you can think of making plans for childbirth like we
make plans for travel adventures we book airline tickets and reserve hotel rooms even
though flights get canceled and hotel pictures often don’t match reality.

3. The work we do to prepare for labor can help us become better versions of
ourselves in the long run, regardless of how labor unfolds. Birth physiology and
labor coping preparation teach us about hormonal health, postural alignment, pelvic
health, and stress management. Understanding the societal context of birth invites us to
learn how to navigate power dynamics in the medical system and advocate for ourselves
and loved ones. I can say personally that I am in a better emotional, physical, and
professional state – not just after having kids, but because of it.

In fact, when I gave birth for the first time in 2014, I was already a doula, lactation counselor,
and childbirth educator. I thought I knew all there was to know. I was excited and confident
heading into my labor. But, the reality was I was prepared for the emotional side of labor. Not
the physical side. No one in my life or my professional courses taught me about the pelvic floor
or the role of posture, alignment, breath, or pressure management during pregnancy.
Considering a baby has to navigate through our bony pelvis, shaped by our joints, ligaments,
and fascia – it’s hard to believe that we’re taught so little about anatomy and functional
movement in pregnancy.

When I started Birthsmarter I set out to create a birthing preparation course that would combine
not just the emotional and physical preparation but also incorporate birth history, institutional
power dynamics, relationship coaching, and general critical thinking skills. We get some much
advice as expectant and new parents and rarely have a framework for interpreting the noise.

What Kind of Birth Class Should I Take?

When looking at birth education courses, it’s common for expectant parents to consider
weighing basics like convenience and cost, but given the sensitivity of the topic and variability in
quality, I would urge you to explore a bit further to avoid an underwhelming experience.
At Birthsmarter our interactive courses on Zoom as well as our On-Demand Childbirth
Education and our Live Classes in SLC and NYC are unique because:

1. The curriculum and approach are truly unbiased and personalized. We’re in it for
the journey and not the outcome. And what’s right for you might not be right for the
person sitting next to you.

2. The course is taught by someone who knows how to teach. There’s something
about learning from educators instead of experts.

3. The information is practical for you and your partner. Between reinforcing health
pelvic health habits, relationship coaching, and navigating power dynamics you will walk
away with an overflowing toolbox.

4. The highest quality information is truly accessible to all. Luckily, with Birthsmarter
no one has to settle for lower-quality information, due to financial limitations. Here are 4
ways to consider paying for classes + support groups with Birthsmarter.

Given the unpredictability of birth and the likelihood that you’ll assume a personal failure “if
things don’t go according to plan” good childbirth preparation classes should walk you through
what to expect and how to optimize for each and every kind of birth without glorifying or vilifying
certain interventions. Essentially you want something that will make you confident, while staying
Written By: Ashley Brichter
Ashley Brichter is birth and postpartum doula, childbirth educator, lactation counselor, certified
Fair Play Facilitator, speaker, and entrepreneur. She launched Birthsmarter in 2019, to provide
practical wisdom and guidance to the next generation of families. Ashley is an advocate for
interdisciplinary understandings of wellbeing and is dedicated to modeling critical, creative, and
compassionate thinking as a way to thrive in a binary system. Born and raised in New York City,
she’s currently living in Salt Lake City, UT with her husband and two, quickly growing, children.