When I was researching childbirth classes, I came across a ton of information about different theories on labor, involvement of the spouse/partner and what was "medically necessary." Honestly, I was a little overwhelmed. After taking a step back to really think about what I wanted in the birth of our child, I was able to start researching what techniques/styles really suited my desires and the desires of my husband (although I hate to admit it though, he didn't get much of a say!).
Here are your most popular options (and most available in larger markets) for childbirth education:
These are generally 1 day classes (typically held on a Saturday) but may also be split over 2-3 evening classes provided at a cost by the hospital you will likely be delivering at. These classes are typically briefed, designed to give you an overview of what you may want to know for your "labor day." Topics generally include:
- Introduction to labor
- Types of Contraction
- How to Time Contractions
- When to Call Your Doctor/Arrive at the Hospital
- Actions during labor
- What to expect
- Sequence of events
- Relaxation techniques
- Interventions during labor
- Pain Medications (More on how they are administered, not how they affect you or baby)
- Forceps/Vacuum Extractor
- Cesarean (C-Section) Section - elective and emergency are typically discussed
- Maternity Tour
You can find more information on these classes on your local hospital's Labor and Delivery section of their website.
Typical Cost: $100
There are a whole slew of classes designed with a focus on educating mom (and dad) about childbirth and pain management during childbirth. Please Note: I have included 4 of the most popular classes - there may be more available in your area. Midwives and OBGYN Practices in your area may also offer classes.
Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth - These classes are 2 hours each, 12-weeks in length and typically taught by Bradley-certified husband/wife teams and/or doulas. The focus of the classes is to educate both mom and dad on all aspects of pregnancy and birth to make informed decisions with their birth teams to alleviate the need for drug interventions during pregnancy and labor. The classes cover a variety of topics including:
- General Pregnancy Knowledge
- Proper Coaching of Mom for Dad/Partner
- Stages of Labor and Techniques Useful in each Stage
- Creating a Birth Plan
- Complications/Unexpected Situations
- Preparing for Baby - in the hospital and afterward at home
Typical Cost: $350
*** Note: Jim and I are currently enrolled in Bradley classes - reviews to come shortly.
Hypnobirthing - These classes are 2.5 hours each, 5-weeks in length and are taught by a certified Hypnobirthing professional. The focus of the classes are to provide the mother (and father/partner) with the tools necessary to let previous notions of childbirth out the window and create a calm, soothing, almost entranced 100% relaxed environment for mom to bring baby into the world. The 5 units of Hypnobirthing include:
- Expecting a Positive Experience/Results
- Bonding with Your Baby/Choosing Your Labor Team
- Labor Preparation: Getting Ready to Meet Your Baby
- Stages and What to Expect during the Birthing Process/Labor
- Coping and Strategies for Delivering Baby
Typical Cost: $350
Confident Childbirth - Confident Childbirth offers two choices depending on what meets your needs better - a one-time Saturday Intensive course or a 3 hr, 4-week (12 total hours) Traditional Course. Both courses focus on relaxation of mom, while providing mom and dad/partner the tools necessary to cope with the labor process in the way they see fit. (It appears they do NOT advocate strongly for the use of or against the use of medicinal pain management during labor/birth.) The Confident Childbirth classes include topics such as:
- Stages of labor and expectations of the process during each stage
- Relaxation Techniques
- Breathing Techniques
- Labor/Birthing Positions
- Common hospital procedures
- Pain Management
- Birth Plans and Communication with Your Birth Team
- Mock Labor Practice with Contraction Simulators
Typical Cost: $150 Saturday Intensive Course, $200 4-Week Traditional Course
Lamaze - The Lamaze method peaked in the 1970's and early 1980's - it's likely the one your mother recognizes most! Probably most popular for their distinct breathing techniques. Although taught by certified Lamaze Educators, each class seems to include different elements. Use the class locator to find educators in your area.
Typical Cost: Varies by Provider/Educator
Feel free to ask me any questions you have - I'll try my best to assist you in why we chose what we did!