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Childbirth Techniques

As you are preparing for the birth of your baby, you may be overwhelmed by the array of childbirth preparation classes. There are at least ten certifying organizations for childbirth educators and each has a unique approach to childbirth. To choose the right one for you, begin by deciding how you want your labor and delivery to proceed, who you want to help you deliver, and where you want to give birth.

Beginning in the 1930s, "natural childbirth" began to gain popularity. Dr. Grantley Dick-Read of England wrote a book stating that women who are informed about what is happening to them during labor and delivery experience less fear. He believed that fear of the unknown creates tension, which in turn creates pain, which elicits more fear, which produces more tension. Dr. Dick-Read called this the fear-tension-pain syndrome and blamed it for women's painful deliveries. Many of our modern childbirth preparation methods are based on his ideas. During the 1960s and 70s, women began to demand more control over their bodies and the birth of their babies and several prepared childbirth techniques were developed.

Prepared childbirth refers to any of the various methods women use to cope with childbirth and understand the natural sequence of events in labor and delivery. This allows the woman to make informed choices about how she wants to have her baby, and helps her partner be a better coach. There are several types of childbirth methods and many hospitals and clinics offer general childbirth classes that incorporate aspects from more than one method.


McMoyler Method is the brainchild of veteran labor and delivery nurse Sarah McMoyler. According to McMoyler, the goal of every birth is a healthy mom and healthy baby, however you get there. Asking for pain medication when you intended to have a natural birth is not a failure and having an unplanned c-section is not cause for regret if the end result is a healthy baby in your arms. They are simply means to an end; viable options you can use to reach your goal. After all, McMoyler states, "[childbirth] is not a competition." McMoyler Method gives you the information and skills you need to cope with contractions, remain flexible during labor, communicate and work with your health care team and make decisions along the way in order to achieve that healthy mom-healthy baby goal. In her classes, McMoyler uses the partners, instead of the moms-to-be, to demonstrate coping and relaxation maneuvers to ensure they fully understand the concepts so they are able to be effective coaches on the big day.

While other childbirth techniques focus almost exclusively on coping with difficult contractions, McMoyler considers the time between contractions to be just as important. Those precious few moments are the only chance you have to mentally regroup, reorganize and recharge, so the McMoyler Method includes a number of effective relaxation techniques you can use to help you "release and let go" between contractions and prepare for the work ahead.

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