Childbirth Education Classes: Choosing What Is Right For You

Whether you are having your first, second or fifth child, Childbirth Education Classes are a great thing to consider as you approach the upcoming birth process.

Whether you are having your first, second or fifth child, Childbirth Education Classes are a great thing to consider as you approach the upcoming birth process.  Not only do these classes offer you education, they can give you great tips and tools for making the labor and delivery experience easier physically and mentally for both you and your spouse.  We have a few great tips on what to look for in a class, what you will learn and why you should invest in these to share with you today.  Remember, knowledge is power – and when giving birth to your child, you want as much knowledge as possible.

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Types of Childbirth Education Classes: While there are many childbirth education classes out there, these two are the most common and easily found types.  If neither of these sound good for you and your family, you may want to do further research and check with your hospital or midwife for more information on alternate childbirth education classes.

  • Lamaze: These classes are probably the most popular and widely known.  Lamaze teaches great relaxation, breathing and massage techniques to ease labor pains.  The classes will also inform you on what to expect during pregnancy, and during the labor process.  You will be given information on how your body will react to the process, various bodily functions that may occur and how to communicate well with your spouse and your physician to see your needs met.  They also offer some great tips and information regarding breastfeeding for those moms interested in making that choice at birth.
  • Bradley Method: This method is very popular for those who want a bit more interaction and control over their birthing process.  You are taught a lot about health during your pregnancy, but also a significant amount of information is presented regarding post partum care.  From the physical to emotional you will be given information and options on how to handle situations that may arise.  The Bradley Method also teaches relaxation techniques, massage and how to manage pain without medications.  This focuses a lot on less medical intervention and more mom led birthing.

How To Choose Your Childbirth Education Class: Every woman will have different needs and desires when it comes to childbirth and the experience of pregnancy.  While childbirth education classes offer a lot of information, they can be tough to decide upon.  Focus on your overall goals when looking at options.  If you are wanting a more natural childbirth with less medical intervention, something like the Bradley Method will likely be better for you.  If medical intervention is okay for you, then Lamaze will likely be a better choice.  Important to consider is also how your partner, spouse or labor coach will be involved in the process.  Knowing that they are comfortable with your plan is very important as well.

Pregnancy and childbirth are incredible things to experience.  Investing the time and money to attend childbirth education classes will not only help you to gain more knowledge about your body and the birthing experience, it will give you peace of mind when things happen unexpectedly.  Education about your body and the changes it will go through as your pregnancy progresses and during childbirth itself can go a long way toward giving you comfort and peace of mind.

Did you take childbirth education classes when you were pregnant? What are your thoughts on them?

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9 thoughts on “Childbirth Education Classes: Choosing What Is Right For You”

  1. Nancy B, AAHCC

    This article is a great place to start, with this overview of different childbirth methods. I learned about childbirth methods in nursing college (1977-78); found a book about the Bradley Method(r) while researching for a report I was doing. Loved this evidence based method which teaches you to tune into your body.

    I attended my sister’s birth; I was her primary support. She took Lamaze classes and did very well, though I did not care for the tuning out aspects and the unnatural breathing patterns encouraged by the instructors.

    I had 4 wonderful natural births with my husband as my personal labor support (doulo). Loved it so much that after the first, I determined I would teach others some day. I have been a certified Bradley teacher since 2009 and have had over 275 happy couples take our classes.

    We pay attention to our outcomes. Without classes, 35-40% of first time expectant parents in our state end up with cesareans. With our comprehensive classes, the rate is less than 20%. You need to have a primary OB or midwife who is passionate about natural birth, and a support team also supportive. Sometimes you have to switch to a provider and a place of birth more supportive, even if it means traveling a bit further or choosing a home birth with a qualified provider.

    Our bodies were designed to do this, but the success rate is definitely tied to supportive providers and how prepared we are for natural birth and utilizing natural alternatives when we deviate from a text book birth. The best approach is with a solid education in natural childbirth for both expectant mom and her primary labor support (typically baby’s father, someone who knows her best.) A doula can fill this position but she should attend classes with the expectant mom in order to utilize the method she has chosen.

    I can’t say enough good about Bradley classes. The local nurse midwives tell us over and over that our students are the best.

    Do your homework… Interview local teachers and ask what their stats are. If you are serious about natural childbirth, take a thorough class with your spouse, partner, sister, mother and/or doula. You will not only learn skills for natural birth but critical thinking skills and foundational health principles you can use for the rest of your life.

  2. It has been so long since I needed childbirth classes, I had not even heard of the Bradley method. They only had Lamaze when I was pregnant with my son! Thanks for sharing, I have a pregnant friend who can use this information!

  3. I have know women that take childbirth classes for each child. I went to childbirth classes just for my first child. Thanks for sharing.

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