Childbirth Classes

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Expecting a baby is an exciting time, but it can also be filled with lots of questions. Childbirth classes can help to answer all the questions you might have about childbirth. Childbirth classes include all types of things that new parents need to know. You can go into the labor room understanding what to expect. The classes also cover taking care of a new baby and what to expect the first few months.

What Are the Benefits of Childbirth Classes?

Benefits

Descriptions

Learning a whole range of baby information

Childbirth classes can range from labor and delivery to newborn care, breastfeeding and beyond. Your local hospital may offer a whole series of classes to help you on your path to parenthood.

Give the confidence you need to go through labor and delivery

First time mothers feel nervous about labor and childbirth. Childbirth classes can teach you about your body’s wonderful and amazing capabilities.

Discussing your fears with others

You will be able to talk about your feelings and fears with other new parents and a qualified instructor that is trained to answer all of your questions about childbirth.

Help your partner understand what you will be going through

Attending childbirth classes with your partner helps them learn about labor and delivery. This will help them support and help you when the time comes.

Learn about easing labor

You will learn valuable techniques to help you deal with labor. There are breathing techniques, relaxation methods, pain medications and labor massage.

Take a hospital tour

Hospitals can be scary places. Childbirth classes usually include a tour of the birthing unit and rooms where you will go through labor, delivery and mommy/baby care after your baby is born. This helps alleviate fears the day you are admitted and most are built like mini hotel rooms these days.

Want to learn more about why you should choose childbirth classes? Check out the video below:

When Can I Take Childbirth Classes?

Childbirth classes can start at any time during pregnancy depending what is offered in your local area. There are classes that focus on the whole pregnancy. They can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months in duration. The classes that start in early pregnancy may discuss what is happening with your body and add in newborn care. Then, towards your last trimester you will begin actual birthing classes to teach you proper breathing and what to expect in labor and delivery.

If you have already had a baby before, most hospitals offer a quick refresher course that last just a few weeks. Some hospitals may offer classes that are held on weekends in full-day sessions. Normally, classes are scheduled in the evenings for around an hour or two for about 6 weeks prior to delivery. Ask about sibling classes for big brothers and sisters, too!

What Can I Learn From Childbirth Classes?

Childbirth classes can help you get ready for the big day when you meet your baby for the first time! This is a time that will take some learning and preparation if it is your first baby. Classes run from 6 to 8 weeks including speeches on labor nurses, group discussions among new parents and comfort techniques.

There are many different methods to consider for childbirth, but all classes have a mutual goal that helps get new parents ready for childbirth. They can also help relieve fears, teach relaxation methods and coping techniques.

Childbirth classes can be found at large medical groups, community based groups and hospitals. They can include classes from the first trimester all the way through the newborn period and you can even take a refresher course if you have had previous pregnancies. When shopping for childbirth classes, you want to find something that includes the following topics:

  • Signs that labor is beginning
  • When to call the doctor or go to the hospital
  • Labor and delivery progress
  • What labor and delivery feel like
  • How to deal with labor and delivery pain
  • Your partners’ roles in labor and delivery
  • Possible complications during labor and delivery
  • Movie night (you will actually get to see a live video of childbirth)

Some places offer a special set of classes for newborn care and feeding. These are usually offered in the first trimester or held separate location from actual childbirth classes. Check with your local hospital or birthing center for schedules.

An added benefit is that you can connect with others that will have children the same age as your new baby and this leaves opportunities for new friends and playdates in the future!

What Types Of Classes Are Available?

There are a number of different methods available to help deal with labor and delivery. Hospitals usually just teach a general program that is tailored for anyone. You can look into different tried and true methods on your own and see if they are offered nearby or some are offered online these days.

Hospital type classes are geared towards teaching all the options for relaxation and pain relief in a general sense. What you decide is completely up to you and your individual needs or desires. There are classes out there that focus on completely natural labor and delivery and using epidural or other pain relief. Here are some of the different labor and delivery methods:

Methods

Descriptions

Lamaze method

This method has been taught for many years and focuses on teaching women how to trust their bodies in labor and delivery and understand the different options they have during childbirth. The classes teach breathing, relaxation and comfort measures to help relieve pain. They are also taught they have a right to make decisions about what they want during labor and delivery and be informed of pain relief options if they choose to use them.

The Bradley method

This is a method that teaches women that pain medications and interventions won’t be needed and how to deal with labor and delivery naturally. The whole class teaches proper lifestyle choices such as good diet and exercise, along with techniques to use during labor. It includes the partner to help relieve any discomfort and offer support.

The International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)

This association teaches childbirth instructors how to teach childbirth classes and is not based on any particular method. The individual class taught is up to the instructor who is certified and they all teach their own choices for class and preparation.

Hypno-birthing method

This is also known as the Mongan Method and teaches “self-hypnosis” during labor. This can help women relax on a deeper level, use creative visualization and bring a sense of calm to the birthing process. This helps keep the focus on what the body is naturally designed to do, but also allows for medical pain relief and interventions if needed.

The Alexander technique

It is based on the awareness of movement, support, coordination and balance. This method focuses on physical preparation for childbirth and parenting.

Prenatal yoga

Yoga teaches stretching exercises and focuses on breathing and meditation for anyone. Classes designed for pregnant women can help with the labor and delivery process by teaching being one with the body and focusing on the breath.

Birthing from Within

This teaches a spiritual approach to labor and delivery as well as parenting.

Birth-works

The focus with this program is to help women increase their faith in their own bodies during labor and delivery.

How Can I Find the Right Childbirth Class for Me?

1. How to Choose

However you choose to give birth is completely up to your own needs, desires, beliefs and who you are inside. You should also discuss these things and agree on them with your partner. The method you choose is the one that is right for you and not any one method is the “only way.” Some people like large classes and some people prefer smaller classes.

Just make sure that you fully understand what a method is about before you sign up for classes. Talk to the instructor and look over the course offerings. In researching, make sure classes cover everything you want to know, pregnancy, complications, choices for pain control and medical interventions.

Ask questions such as instructor education, certifications held, methods and philosophy, class breakdown and how many people are taught each session. It is a good idea to start looking early in pregnancy as classes can fill up fast!

2. Find the Right One

Locating childbirth classes in your area can be easy if you ask your local hospital, birthing center, your doctor or even close friends. There may even be a list in your local newspaper. Here are some different places that offer childbirth classes:

  • Private Instructors
  • Hospitals
  • HMO facilities
  • Doctor’s offices
  • Online classes
  • Doula’s and Midwives
  • Community Health Centers

As a last resort, you can always contact the ICEA (International Childbirth Education Association) to see if they have an instructor in your area. The Lamaze International society may also have information of classes in your area. If you prefer the Bradley Method, look for the American Academy of Husband Coached Childbirth and they may be able to steer you in the direction of their certified instructors.

Want to learn more about how to choose a good childbirth class? Check out the video below: