How to prepare for a calm and active birth with Daisy classes

After you've gotten over first trimester exhaustion, started your shopping list for cots, prams and clothes for your little one and had your babymoon, you might want to start thinking about actually birthing your baby. Yep, shiz gets real at this point as it dawns on you that that your little seed has turned into a tiny human the size of a watermelon and now needs to come out. Gulp.
If you're a first time mama like me, it's easy to get so caught up in your pregnancy bubble that you forget that you haven't a clue how to give birth, even though you figure your body will take over and know just what to do.

I'm the kind of person who likes to do my research and give myself the best possible knowledge and so as well as starting to read some books on the subject, I wanted to start birthing classes. Somewhere between 28-32 weeks is the optimal time to start but you'll want to get booked on somewhere around the middle of your second trimester.

I've always liked the idea of a waterbirth and using hypnosis, visualisation and yoga techniques to help keep me calm on the big day. I'm still planning to go with the flow but I figure it can't hurt to have a preference.
That's when I found the Daisy Foundation classes which promise to bring together elements of breathing, meditation, yoga and education. It's a good idea to get booked on early to avoid missing out, as the classes run in 6 week terms and leave it too late and you may not get to see the full term out before wee one arrives. Also they say it works on muscle memory where the more you do it, the more natural and instinctive it feels.
I joined Danielle's classes as she looks after the East Riding of Yorkshire and Beverley area. Not only does she run Daisy classes from birth to toddlers, but she's an experienced doula, breastfeeding specialist and has a degree in perinatal education, so needless to say I felt in good hands.
I had my first taster of the birthing classes at the end of my second trimester and found it so helpful for relaxation. It was 90 minutes away from what was a very stressful time in my life. Time for me and bump to bond which was absolute bliss. The breathing techniques I learnt were so helpful even in every day situations for helping to relax.
Danielle instantly put us at ease during the first Daisy class and as she keeps the groups small, you get to know other mummies to be very well. It's a fab way to meet people who you'll likely stay in touch with even after the bubs are here and being stuck at home alone with a tiny nipper can be pretty isolating.

The Daisy principle is all about informed choice rather than preaching one way, even if that means a highly medical birth with every pain relief going. You learn about various methods of pain relief with pros and cons as well, and the varying stages of labour (did anyone else know there was more than one?)
I've enjoyed the practical elements of the classes such as learning how to take the foot on and off the accelerator of labour with different yoga moves, some of which can open your pelvis by 30% more, which has got to be useful, right? Just staying active and upright for as long as possible apparently makes a massive difference.

I also liked the use of breathing to oxygenate muscles and relax us. At the end of each class we get an uninterrupted guided meditation which fills our minds with positive thoughts and you really do feel your body sinking into the floor. It's always very tempting to take a little nap at this point as you feel so flipping relaxed.
I think it's been worth its weight in gold for helping me feel relaxed and prepared to bring our tiny human into the world but if it isn't your style, don't forget to ask about your local NCT or Sure Start classes. These are free in most areas and give you a practical foundation to build on but the one I've been to so far does tend to give you quite a medical, factual view only, so it's very different to the Daisy principle. But still it's all useful information and the contacts you make are invaluable.

If you want to give either birth class a go, you can find out more here , here and here.

I might do a follow up post after the birth to see how I used the techniques...let me know if that would be useful to you.

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