Comparing to most other European countries, France has a higher birth rate. This is partly due to the maternity benefits that French families are enjoying. Social security covers all the cost beginning from the 6th month of pregnancy (unless you choose private hospitals/clinics). Besides that, pregnant women get one time free dental examination, and 8 lessons of preparation for the childbirth, which is the focus of this post.
I just finished all the 8 lessons earlier this week! In my case, my sage-femme (midwife) in the hospital referred me to this SF liberal who gives lessons (most importantly, she speaks English). It’s a one-on-one class. I don’t know if it’s always like this in Grenoble, or it’s because I don’t speak French. Each class is one hour. The first class, or meeting, was for the SF to gather information of us, and to schedule the other 7 classes. I had two classes every week. The topics were:
- When to go to the hospital (for delivery), signs of the labor
- What will happen in the hospital (on the delivery day), the process of labor
- Breathing, exercises using the birthing ball
- What can go wrong
- Practice how to push
- Life after the childbirth, the recovery, what will my body be like
Of course, we also discussed the questions and concerns that I had. For example, she also helped me to look through the list of things to prepare for the delivery day (I will talk about the list in another post). One hour is actually very short. We often finish before we notice 🙂
I think the classes are very helpful, because she’s familiar with that hospital, and she can explain everything to me in English! Before the classes, I knew nothing, and I was a little scared. Especially that there’s the language barrier… what if I could not understand them, and I did not know what to do… what if there’s a decision to be made… Now I feel much better! After finishing the classes and watching a video of the maternity at the hospital, I have an idea of the whole process, who will be there with me, and where it will take place. In addition, now I have confidence that they will do the best for me, that they will keep the delivery as natural as possible, that they will only do what’s necessary, and that they will not push me to do the cesarean section just because of their personal schedules.
Again, the classes are covered by social security, so don’t miss out this benefit. You will always learn something! Of course, it will be better if the husband can be there as well, especially for the exercises using the birthing ball. The SF is right – it makes a bit difference if the husband hears things from other people.