Wednesday evening was the second session of birth preparation class.
I asked whether we'd talk about Lamaze, and she said no; she said that this technique was popular in the 70's and 80's but is now considered outdated (which matches what Ireen had told me). She said the strongly regemented breathing was popular with some women such as teachers :) but not with others, and that most women have to figure out what works well with them, since everyone is different. She did say that singers and those who do a lot of sports have an advantage because singers learn how to breathe and sports people know how to breathe under load.
We also did quite a bit of pelvic gyrations :) It was kind of funny. Wiggling around our bums while standing, moving them around while lying on the floor, pretending to paint our name on a wall with a paintbrush clenched between our buttocks, and more. Whee :)
This is apparently good for birth as well because rotating your pelvis helps the child find the way into the birth channel.
We spent a fair bit of time going through the mother's booklet she had asked every woman to have handy, and which pregnant women are supposed to carry around with them at all times.
She explained the various serological tests that are done, about blood groups, about the various factors that contribute to what's considered a risk pregnancy, about ultrasound and baby size, and so on. So now we know, for example, what the mysterious "N-1" meant: the top of the uterus is one finger's breadth below the navel. And that the "BEL" means that the child was in Beckenendlage ("breech presentation", according to LEO) at the last examination. But since we have quite a while ahead of us, we shouldn't worry, since the child can still turn around before then. (One thing that can help is kneeling and touching the floor with the head, so that the child can "fall out" of the pelvis through gravity and then have a bit more room to maneuver.)
At the end, we played a little get-to-know-one-another game: she threw a little hacky-sack type ball at one person and told her to name another person's name and throw the ball at them.
Most of us failed pretty badly at first because people remembered, on average, about one other person's name from last time :) But we managed to get things going. The participant lists that the midwife had distributed helped; for example, if we caught the name of a woman, we knew the name of the man next to her by looking at the list.
One woman wrote down the name "Natalie", but I thought she had introduced herself as something more like "Natalya". I asked her how she said her name and she said, "Natalya". From her (weak) accent, I imagine she's Russian, ethnically if not by nationality (possibly second or third generation). There's also another Russian who has more of an accent, Swetlana.
I asked the Swetlana at work how to spell Natalya and she said "with a soft sign", so Наталья. ("Swetlana" is obvious, Светлана.)
After the class was over, we went to a different bus stop which seemed to be closer, and indeed it was. There were a number of people waiting there—and one was smoking; the guy, fortunately.
I asked him whether he was going to stop when his child arrived, and he said he'd try, but that he's having a pretty hard time already. One woman said she could sympathise, since she had also smoked but quit when she found out she was pregnant (unlike some women I've read about recently); she also found it fairly hard but since she knew it would influence her baby's health, it gave her added incentive to do so. (And now that she doesn't smoke any more, she realises how stinky it is around smokers and wonders how her husband endured it all the time.)