For most pregnant women, even if you already have a child, the laborand birth process can be both overwhelming and joyful. Manywomen and their partners choose to attend childbirth classes to gatherinformation and lessen their anxiety. There are several differentoptions when choosing a childbirth education class.
What are the benefits of childbirth education classes?
- Childbirth classes will build your confidence in your body’sability to give birth.
- You can discuss your fears about labor and birth with the instructorand other couples with the same concerns.
- Your partner will learn about childbirth and how to support youon the big day. You may find that attending childbirth classes togetherwill create a special bond.
- Your instructor will discuss pain relief options, including massage,relaxation, breathing, and medications.
- A tour of your birthing facility during class will give you theopportunity to see the staff in action. This is a great time toask your instructor about routine practices, such as electronicfetal monitoring and freedom of movement during labor.
- If you are planning a hospital birth, you might be interestedin taking more than one class. A class at the hospital might includea basic overview of labor and birth and may teach specific hospitalpractices. Classes taught outside the hospital may equip you within-depth information about coping skills, physiology of labor andbirth, emotional aspects, and childbirth options.
How do I find the right class for me?
Lamaze® International uses a contemporary curriculum that supportsbirth as normal, natural, and healthy and empowers expectant womenand their partners to make informed decisions. The class content includes:
- Normal labor, birth and early postpartum
- Positioning for labor and birth
- Relaxation and massage techniques to ease pain
- Labor support
- Communication skills
- Information about medical procedures
- Healthy lifestyle
For more information: http://www.lamaze.org/
The Bradley Method®:
The Bradley Method® helps women prepare for a natural labor and birthwithout the use of medication. This comprehensive 12-week course covers:
- Importance of nutrition and exercise
- Relaxation techniques to manage pain
- Labor rehearsals
- How to avoid a cesarean birth
- Postpartum care
- Guidance for coach/doula about supporting and advocating forthe mother
For more information: http://www.bradleybirth.com/
The Hypnobirthing® method teaches mothers that if you remove fearand tension, severe pain does not have to be part of labor. Intenserelaxation will enhance natural birthing instincts that lead to acalm and serene birth experience. The curriculum also teaches womenhow to experience a feeling similar to daydreaming, while remainingcontrolled and happy during labor and birth.
For more information: http://www.hypnobirthing.com/
Birthing From Within®:
Birthing From Within® prepares mothers to give “birth-in-awareness,”not to achieve a specific birth outcome. The class curriculum is adjustedto meet the specific needs and differences of parents. This methodalso recognizes that pregnancy, birth and postpartum are a time ofcontinuous learning; holistic support and education should be availablethroughout that period.
For more information: http://www.birthingfromwithin.com/
What questions should I ask before I choose a class?
- Is the instructor certified to teach childbirth classes?
- What is the instructor’s philosophy about labor and birth?
- What topics are included in the curriculum?
- Will my partner learn how to play an active role in labor andbirth?
- What is the cost?
- How many couples will be in the class?
- How often will the class meet?
- Will various birth philosophies be taught in class? For example,will a woman wanting an un-medicated birth learn coping skills forsuccess? Will a woman wanting an epidural learn how to cope witha medicated labor and birth?
- Does this location offer different types of childbirth classes?For example, some locations offer Childbirth Basics, Refresher Class,Natural Childbirth and Sibling Class.
Where do I find a childbirth education class?
Childbirth education classes are usually offered at hospitals, birthcenters, physicians’ offices and private homes.
- Finda Childbirth Educator in your area
Or you can find information about childbirth education classes through:
- Your physician or hospital
- Family and friends
- Pregnancy centers
- Specific childbirth education organizations
- Community resource centers
You may find the following books helpful.
- TheOfficial Lamaze Guide
- Judith Lothian
- Birthingfrom Within
- Pam England
- Husband Coached Childbirth
- Robert A. Bradley
Your purchase supports the American Pregnancy Association.
Compiled using information from the following sources:
March of Dimes, http://www.marchofdimes.com/