—Amy & Jeff Gingerich, parents to Poppy
Empowered Birth is an original seven-week, Lamaze-inspired curriculum created by Angela Garvin. Empowered Birth classes help parents navigate the journey of labor and birth by providing them with tools they need to make their own decisions. Parents come to class not to memorize and assimilate obstetric information, but to learn how to become active participants in the labor and birth process. Birth is a mystery and no one can tell parents in advance what it will look like and what challenges they may face. In class, parents will learn how to ask questions and make informed decisions. Along the way, moms will build confidence in the natural birth process and partners will build their confidence as they learn to support mom through labor and birth.
Empowered Birth is not a method; women are individuals and as such, will give birth their own way, on their own terms. The goal is to teach moms and partners a wide range of options, encouraging them to draw from a "toolbox" of comfort measures and coping techniques to use during labor. Empowered Birth classes do not focus on a specific outcome, but focus on empowering parents to navigate their labor and birth journey by trusting in the process, asking questions, building their confidence and relying on a toolbox of comfort measures.
An empowered birth can be (but is not limited to!) a birth at home with midwives, a natural birth in the hospital with an obstetrician, or a cesarean section after laboring at home or in the hospital. While all of these birth experiences are unique, they do have something in common. Mom and her partner were active participants in the birth process—trusting mom's body to birth her baby, asking questions along the way and accepting medical intervention if necessary or appropriate, as suggested by their trusted birth team. An empowered birth happens when parents are active, informed and confident participants in the process of labor and birth.