Being pregnant and preparing to deliver a child, even if it is not your first can be an overwhelming experience. By attending childbirth classes new parents can inform themselves about not only what will happen during labor and delivery, but also throughout their pregnancy. There are many options available when looking for childbirth education classes, and the choice is usually based on preference as well as the availability of classes (some of them fill up fast).

Benefits Of Classes

Here are a few of the many benefits of attending these classes:

  • Builds confidence that when the time comes you will be able to give birth.
  • Lets you talk openly about any fears or concerns you may have with other expectant parents for support.
  • Helps your partner learn about the important stages of labor so he/she can be an active participant in the deliver process.
  • Covers the variety of pain management options, such as massage, breathing and pain medication.
  • Usually includes a tour of a birthing facility so you can see what the rooms and staff are like.

Types Of Classes

There are several different types of childbirth classes to choose from:

Lamaze ® International – uses a contemporary curriculum that champions a woman’s right to choose a natural and healthy birthing process and encourages both parents to make informed decisions. The classes generally cover:

  • Stages of labor, delivery and postpartum
  • Labor and birth positions
  • Natural pain management
  • Labor support
  • Medical procedure information
  • Establishing proper breastfeeding techniques

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The Bradley Method ® – aims to help women ready themselves for a perfectly natural labor and birth (ie: no medication). The course covers:

  • Nutrition and exercise
  • Natural pain management techniques
  • Rehearsing labor
  • Avoiding a cesarean birth
  • Postpartum care
  • Breastfeeding techniques
  • Encouragement and guidance for the coach or doula

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Hypnobirthing ® – teaches women to remove fear and tension in order to create a positive, pain-free birthing experience. Shows women how to relax so that their mind is calm and serene to create a daydreaming sensation while staying in control of their labor.

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Birthing From Within ® – a personalize approach to labor and delivery that teaches holistic methods of handling various portions of the pregnancy, from pre-term to postpartum.

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Questions To Ask

Before you choose a class to attend, you should ask the following questions to make sure that the curriculum meets your needs:

  • What are the credentials of the class facilitator?
  • What philosophy does the class follow?
  • What topics are covered?
  • What will my partner learn in the class that is useful?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What is the size of the class?
  • When / where does the class meet?
  • What birthing philosophies does the class cover, ie: medicated births, natural births, coping methods, etc
  • Are there different types of classes offered?

Where To Find A Childbirth Class

Great places to look for childbirth classes include hospitals, birth centers and physicians offices. There also many private and community organizations that offer these services. It is also a good idea to ask other couples who have given birth about the classes they took, and whether they were helpful.