Childbirth Education: Birth and the First Three Months
with Deb Rhizal
Preparation for birth, postpartum recovery, and newborn care
Meets Saturday from 9-5, offered once per month.
This class is highly rated by other parents as well as care providers. Read testimonials of their experiences. You will learn:
- How to understand the stages of labor, when to go to the hospital or call your midwife, and how to take care of yourself during early labor.
- How to help labor go well and decrease the necessity for c-section and other interventions, including tips for how to do this with or without an epidural.
- What contractions are like and how to work with them, opening your body and tapping into confidence, as well as tips for how to support and comfort laboring women.
- What to expect and how to prepare for postpartum recovery.
- How to discuss options, as well as there benefits and risks, with your doctor or midwife.
- The early developmental tasks for babies, how to give your baby a strong start and build a deep bond and connection with them.
- What adjustments you may face in your relationship with your spouse or partner, in your sexuality, and as an individual. Tips for enhancing the joy and meaning of parenthood while decreasing risk for postpartum depression.
We focus on labor and birth from 9-12, take a 2 hour lunch break, and then focus on postpartum and babies from 2-5.
This class includes extensive online resources. You will have everything you need to create a birth plan and a postpartum plan! The online resources also include exercises you can do at home to practice deep relaxation or build confidence for birth.
Cost for the class is $175 per couple. Income based scholarships are available – please see our Phoenix Fund page.
*Breastfeeding technique is not covered in this class. Taking a breastfeeding class is highly encouraged for those planning to breastfeed. This class will cover information about how to determine if your baby is well hydrated and feeding successfully, as well as information related to health and wellbeing for breastfeeding women and parenting concerns in the breastfeeding family. The information I cover is applicable to bottle fed babies as well.
*This class is great for people birthing in hospitals, birth centers, or at home. If you are birthing at a hospital, a tour of your hospital is highly encouraged which will give you a chance to learn about the procedures unique to where you are birthing.
*Because our time is kept to a minimum in order to offer a comprehensive class in one day, the content of this class has been chosen very specifically to focus on information that is best learned directly from someone with a lot of birth experience. Information that can be learned effectively through an article or handout is minimized. It is imperative that you have a basic knowledge of anatomy and some of the terms commonly used in birth. A brief pre-class article will be provided to all participants a week before the class begins. Please be familiar with this material before you arrive to class!
Labor and Birth
This portion of class will give you a very clear idea of what to expect from labor and how to promote a positive and healthy birth. Deb includes engaging stories and descriptions of what contractions are like, how to get through them, and how to comfort and help mom during birth. We will view a birth video. Class will answer the following questions:
- What is it like to be in labor?
- What can I expect from the labor process?
- What should we do in early labor when we are still at home?
- When should we go to the hospital or call your midwife if you are having a home birth?
- How do I cope with the strong intensity of contractions?
- What can I do about pain in childbirth? What if I am out of control?
- How can I support and comfort my partner during labor?
- How can we promote labor progress and help birth go well?
- What about interventions in birth? When are they necessary/unnecisarry and how do we make good decisions during labor?
Postpartum and Parenting
This portion of the class will help you understand how to support your body’s recovery after pregnancy/birth, your relationship, your emotional wellbeing, and your baby’s best development. This portion will cover:
- The impact of the first hours and weeks of life.
- Early infant development and how to promote the best for your baby.
- Baby care, soothing, and feeding.
- Postpartum health and healing.
- Common relationship and lifestyle changes including sexuality.
- Practical preparation for the first weeks at home.
More about the class: A letter from Deb (the instructor)
I am an active local birth doula, and have been a childbirth educator since 2004 though stopped teaching in 2009. In recent years I have found that my doula clients are unprepared for what they experience during birth. I discovered that fewer of my clients were taking childbirth classes, and unfortunately some of my clients who were taking classes found them dry and full of information they could read on the internet. Some found that they felt more fearful after their class, and worried both about labor pain and about how hospital management would negatively impact their birth. Overtime I decided that it was time to head back to the classroom – and Birth and the First Three Months is the class I designed specifically to provide an alternative – a truly informative and engaging class that taught expectant parents practical skills and evidence-based information about early family life and the incredible potential for this to be a very rewarding time.
The information presented in Birth and the First Three Months is based on both medical and social research about the effects of birth and postpartum on women, health, family, parenting confidence, and wellbeing for your baby throughout life. The class also provides exercises that help you take this knowledge, personalize it, and come away with insights about how to prepare for birth and postpartum.
Choosing a childbirth class is an important decision. I feel a great sense of responsibility when I consider the impact that my teaching may have in the lives of the families I serve. Perhaps more important than the information I offer, I also offer a relationship to all who attend my classes, and am committed to being a valuable resource to you in the class and beyond.
Sincerely – Deb Rhizal
Deb is a birth doula and regularly attends births. It is wonderful to take classes from an active birth attendant because we are able to share current relevant information about birthing locally, however it does mean that class may be rescheduled due to my attendance at a birth. If I am not able to make it to class it will be help the following week, and you may request a refund if you are not able to attend. If class is cancelled you will be notified by 8am.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is this a natural birth class?
I respect the choices of all families, and encourage them to make decisions based on their knowledge of themselves coupled with the best insights available from diverse sources of knowledge. The goal is for each family to choose whatever they believe is best for their baby and themselves, and for them to know why they have chosen what they have. I believe that natural birth is a very positive and healthy choice for most families and babies, but not all. I have very high confidence that families who wish to birth naturally are able to, and I support them in this desire with practical tools. The class will emphasize comfort measures that help women who are laboring without pain medications and detailed information on what contractions are like and how to deal with them, emphasizing a relaxed body, calm and confidence. The class also provides information on how to optimize the function, or physiology, of labor whether or not epidurals and narcotics are used. The class does not cover a great deal about the benefits or risks of interventions. Rather the class will teach you how to have meaningful conversations about interventions with your doctor or midwife both prenatally and during your birth. I am a big believer in teamwork between parents, doctors, midwives, nurses and doulas, and will empower you to draw from those relationships in the moments when decisions about your unique situation are being made.
Are there class materials?
Yes! Many. Much of what we cover in class will be supported with articles or handouts. I also provide resources for topics not covered in class. These are available online on a web page specifically for class attendants.
Should I take a longer class or a condensed class like this one?
This class is offered in a one-day format in response to the needs expressed by former clients for a class that fits today’s busy lifestyle. There are a lot of benefits of a longer class – the primary ones being more time to create a meaningful relationship with your instructor and other class participants, and the catalyst that taking time out for a class provides for spurring conversations with your spouse/partner about their needs and thoughts regarding pregnancy, birth and becoming parents. Needs and feelings change over time during pregnancy, and a longer class provides a context for exploring those changing ideas. Social isolation is a major concern during the childbearing year, and a great childbirth class can become a place of connection.
Less information is not a problem with a shorter class, if the information included is chosen with care (as it is here!). Birth is instinctive. The body knows how to do it. Parenting also comes naturally if we believe in ourselves and have a baby without special needs. Some information is incredibly important and empowering! I find I can cover a good amount of information in one day, as well as provide some jumping points from which to continue your own learning.
Because of these pros and cons I highly recommend pairing this class with participation in BellyTime, our on-going weekly group for pregnant women. BellyTime is designed to create meaningful and positive relationships between women and is the perfect compliment to this short class.