Vail Health Magazine 2013 - page 27

Childbirth educator
Shama Sambergerova watches as
Marian and Luke Cartin rehearse the
upright position for labor progress.
Opposite page, from top:
Luke Cartin
practices swaddling the baby. The
Cartins work on a relaxation and comfort
measure position for labor.
For Luke, the classes gave him
a sense of belonging beyond the
helpless, concerned onlooker.
“It helped me understand the
role I can play in the labor process,
as well as how great of a resource
the hospital staff is for all of us
while we are there,” he says.
The Game Plan
The childbirth classes are offered
in a package of four weekly ses-
sions in Vail, Eagle and Gypsum or
as a two-week “fast track” course.
There is also a hands-on, two-hour
natural birth class and a sibling
class aimed at preparing young
people — 2 to 5 year olds — for
their new brother or sister.
Rather than limiting sessions to
only mothers, typically both par-
ents attend the childbirth classes.
Instructor Shama Sambergerova’s
first order of business is to put
everyone at ease.
“We cover preparation for labor,
do a little relaxation and talk about
all the things to think about in
how to prepare — how they can
get insurance, find doctors, get
pre-registered for the upcoming
baby so they don’t have to wait,”
Sambergerova says. “Then we get
into pre-signs of labor and how to
prevent pre-term labor.
The second of the four classes
walks soon-to-be parents through
the details of how labor begins,
the signs, how to recognize the
real signs versus false alarms and
identify which stages necessitate
a trip to the hospital. The third
class gets into intervention, what’s
involved in external and internal
monitoring during labor, why and
how induced births are done and
pain medications such as IVs and
epidurals. Through this learning
process, couples (each class has
from five to 10) are given their own
space where expecting mothers
practice positions and coping
strategies for various stages of
labor while partners practice mas-
sage and comfort techniques.
“I teach them how to be a team,
how the mom needs to speak up –
‘this feels good, this doesn’t,’ ‘push
harder,’ — and let the guys know
that labor changes and her needs
will change as well,” Sambergero-
va says. “In the beginning, she
doesn’t need as much, then later
she needs more massaging and
encouragement. I think the dads
really appreciate it because they
get to practice and they learn how
they can help.”
The final class prepares couples
for “taking care of mom” after
delivery, offering tips for postpar-
tum care, the hospital stay, going
home and how to get ready for the
coming weeks of that new chapter
of everyone’s life.
Support System
Because the whole birth process is
usually brand new to most couples
that attend the classes, there is an
element of hesitation at first, but
it doesn’t take long before a sense
of kinship sets in and everyone
feels comfortable with what awaits
them as a whole.
“All it took was a joke to relax
everyone and help us realize that
we are all in the same boat,” Mari-
an says. “It was nice to be around
others who could relate to the very
things we are going through.”
Okay, so you’ve got the delivery
part down. But what happens
when you get home and there’s
this little human being to take
care of? The medical center also
offers once-a-month baby care
and breastfeeding classes. The
breastfeeding class utilizes dolls
so new mothers get hands-on
practice of holding techniques
and also covers trouble-shooting
with a lactation expert. The baby
care class coaches parents on how
to handle a first bath, what to do
if the baby gets sick and general
daily responsibilities.
“We encourage moms who are
pregnant or moms who had their
babies already to come to this
class,” Sambergerova says. “Marti-
na, one of the nurses, goes through
typical and atypical situations
at home, how to look at these as
normal or emergencies.”
Ultimately, the VVMC Women
and Children’s classes provide a
wealth of knowledge to parents for
smoother sailing in this life-chang-
ing endeavor. The benefits of the
classes reach beyond their private
“Really, it helps the nurses for
parents to be educated and know
what to expect,” Sambergerova
says. “It helps us for parents to
know we have standard proce-
dures and to let them talk to care
providers about what they can
have and what they can’t have.”
the classes
Four weekly sessions
Fastrack Childbirth
Two weekly sessions
Natural Birth
Two hours
I Love My Sibling
Two hours
Other classes include Breastfeeding,
Baby Care and Baby and Me. For
more information, please visit
Photos by Dominique Taylor
“It helped me understand the role I
can play in the labor process, as well
as how great of a resource the hospital
staff is for all of us while we are there.”
—Luke Cartin
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