Welcoming a baby is a time of transition and transformation that is likely to be filled with joy and challenge. It is also a time of decision-making for yourself and your baby, in a sea of opinions and advice from friends, family, and experts. This class is designed to give you the information you need to plan for a birth that matches your ideals.
About the Class
Holistic Childbirth Prep workshops are designed to empower, explore and celebrate the many ways families choose to give birth and create family. This essential workshop is designed to demystify birth while guiding class participants to discover personal beliefs around pregnancy, partnership, birth, and parenthood, which will allow for a truly holistic childbirth experience. Class is designed to meet the needs of families birthing at birth centers, in their homes, at the hospital, or those who haven’t decided yet. This class is relevant to parents having their first, second or third child, depending on the needs of the family.
In the one day Childbirth Education class with Kelly Gray, we will practice and review the following techniques and information:
• Love and Relaxation: Guided relaxation and the hormones of labor
Hormones are the bridge between the mind-body connection. They allow us to feel emotions and trigger physical responses to our environment and internal thought process. By understanding the hormones of labor, we can begin to understand how our connection to ourselves, our partner, our environment and our birth team will have a dramatic affect on our ability to birth from a place of safety. We'll practice guided relaxation while being informed about why it works beyond just feeling good.
• Spinning Baby: The role of the baby, optimal fetal positioning, and troubleshooting through birth
One of the most important things we can do to encourage labor naturally and decrease interventions is to create more space in our uterus for the baby to align into the optimal fetal position. In class we will review optimal fetal positioning, exercises and yoga positions for before and during labor, and interventions that may impede optimal positioning and how to troubleshoot positioning when interventions are necessary.
• Moaning and Moving: Evidence based healthy birth practices, from vocalizations to opening the pelvic floor
From understanding the sounds and positions we turn to during labor to release tension, families can benefit from creating body memories of what empowered birth may sound and feel like.
• The Landscape of Labor: Understanding the emotional and physiological process of birthing your baby
In addition to myth-busting the textbook stages of labor, we will have a fuller conversation about the non-linear landscape of labor, how to support birth as it unfolds, and tools for working with each valley, peak and summit, from a physiological, emotional, and logistical viewpoint.
• The Role of the Partner: Creating Safety
Partner support is a central focus of class. Birth partners (life partners, family member or trusted friend) will learn how to intuit the woman's needs, engage in the experience, and create an environment that feels safe, protected and conducive to birthing. We will review verbal and non-verbal communication skills, birth room etiquette, and the art of observing birth.
• Being in Birth: Massage, Acupressure, Positions, Vocalizations, and Breathing Techniques
We will review the art of touch, breath and saying yes to birth. Partners will have a chance to hold, massage and practice pressure points that will assist in getting labor going naturally while creating counter pressure along the hips.
• Advocacy and Collaboration: Positive Communication Skills with Providers
Class participants will walk away with the terms and phrases most used in the birth room so that they can have informed conversations with their providers. We will review strategies for collaboration, advocacy and informed consent.
• Understanding Interventions
Most people can agree that safety is paramount to birth, and that the mother's experience is not separate from healthy outcomes but rather an integral aspect to mental and physical health during the childbearing years. We will review common interventions through an evidence based care perspective. By linking our conversation around advocacy and collaboration with providers, we start to answer questions around necessity of interventions. We will build a toolkit for decreasing unnecessary interventions, increasing vaginal birth outcomes, and avoiding cesareans. In addition, we will review tools for maximizing positive outcomes when interventions are necessary and review natural counterparts, as well as protecting the micro biome and the breastfeeding relationship.
• Watching, Hearing, Knowing: Empowered Birth Videos
We will watch uncensored videos of families having empowered births.
We will review the sacred hours after birth and discuss how our choices during birth impact breastfeeding, your infant’s immune system, mother’s recovery, mental health, and hormonal balance. We will review common interventions and support offered after birth.
Each class is kept to seven couples or less, as this allows for individual and hands-on attention from the instructor while allowing for community building with other expanding families. We encourage participants to bring meals, pillows, snacks and other items that will allow them to get comfortable and relax.
This one-day workshop includes an hour lunch break and lots of movement. Please wear clothing that allows for squatting and access to the lower back for massage practice.
About the Instructor: Kelly Gray
Kelly is a mother, educator and community organizer. When she’s not sitting on a birth ball with a model pelvis in her hand, she’s creating forums to raise awareness and expand access to birthing options in Sonoma County. Kelly has been teaching her popular Holistic Childbirth Prep Workshop for over seven years in the North Bay and Bay Area, and spent several years attending low risk and high risk births in San Francisco, and spent three years as a manager of a birth center in the North Bay running their community education center. She has curated an on-going column about reproductive experiences in SQUAT Birth Journal and has been included in the anthology Birth Work As Care Work.
Kelly's focus on hormones and the mind~body connection, building intimacy between partners, and evidence based care sets her teaching apart from the standard birth class; participants leave feeling excited and confident about birthing their family. Kelly is passionate about providing up-to-date information and insights into birth research, support measures, community resources, communicating collaboratively with your providers, and all the powerful dynamics parents face as their children enter this world. Kelly sees the work that she does in helping women and families have empowered births as one part of a life long love letter she is writing to her daughter.