Pregnancy is such an emotional and physical journey. Your hormones go up and down like a roller coaster, hairs pop out everywhere, there’s the added stress of what parenting style will work best with a baby on board, even though they’re not born yet. Not to mention, worrying about labor and delivery. There is no shortage of options when it comes to birthing classes, and many of them are tailored to specific needs. Most classes will teach you about:
- Methods of relaxation
- Breathing techniques
- Labor positions and the stages of labor and delivery
- Labor pain management options
- Creating and preparing a birth plan
- Possible childbirth complications could arise and how to best address them
- Different protocols for vaginal delivery and C-sections.
We’ve listed down the most in-demand and popular types of birthing classes, as well as an overview of what they offer. We hope this list of classes helps you choose which one will work for you, your partner, and your little one.
Natural Birth Preparation ClassThese classes focus on teaching you how to deliver naturally without using drugs or other medical interventions. They help you prepare mentally and physically for the experience of giving birth. Lessons help you prepare for labor and delivery. It usually lasts between 3-4 hours. The topics typically covered includes:
- Breathing correctly to avoid pain.
- Breathing techniques that will help ease the pain of contractions.
- You will also learn about positions that will allow you to give birth easily.
Verywell Family compiles a great list for these classes.
Hypnobirthing is an alternative to traditional childbirth methods. It's based on the idea that your body knows what to do during labor and birth. You just have to let it happen. These classes focus solely on hypnosis as a way to relax you during labor and delivery. They teach you how to use hypnosis to control pain and anxiety. Here’s another helpful list of available hypnobirthing classes.
Hypnobirthing classes teach the use of hypnosis to manage pain and anxiety while giving birth
It is one of the most popular and preferred birthing methods in the U.S. These classes teach you how to breathe correctly during labor and delivery. Breathing exercises will help you cope with contractions and keep you calm. Lamaze classes teach women how to cope with pain and give them tips on how to avoid unnecessary medical procedures. The lessons also teach them how best to handle pain and use breathing techniques to relieve it. Check out all the available classes from Lamaze International.
Bradley Method Class
Bradley's birth method, which is also known as husband-coached birth, prepares the mother to deliver painlessly and prepares the baby's father to support her during delivery. This method will prepare you to give birth without medications, but it will also prepare you for situations that may unexpectedly arise, such as an emergency cesarean section. The Bradley Method® and American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth created this helpful website detailing everything you need to know about this birth method.
Some expectant parents choose to use water to assist with the process of labor or choose to give birth in water. They believe that mothers can reclaim control over their bodies and their birth experiences with the undisturbed, supported, and empowering birth method. There are certified waterbirth experts that provide helpful and informational classes about this method that educates partners and families for a healthy, safe, and gentle birth experience. Here’s a list of classes available at Waterbirth International.
Certified waterbirth experts give families correct training for this birth method (📷 by @seapeoplephotography)
VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) Class
For women who have already had a cesarean or two, vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) can be a safe and viable option. As a matter of fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued guidelines in 2010 that support this approach. VBAC classes teach you how to find and choose a supportive healthcare provider, learn how to cope during the various stages of labor, and how to deal with the emotional and physical challenges involved. Birthing Better offers a variety of classes for parents interested in doing a VBAC birth.
Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) can be a safe and viable option
Home Birthing ClassThe classes are intended for expectant who are planning to give birth at home. It aims to build trust between midwives and moms and moms and their partners. As a result, parents and midwives can share informed decision-making throughout pregnancy and birth. Classes also include:
- Pelvic dynamics and positioning of the baby for a smoother labor
- Partner exercises to build confidence and trust in oneself and your partner
- The physical, physiological and emotional process of labor
- Understanding hospital transfer and maintaining control in the decision-making process should a transfer become necessary
- Comfort and safety measures during labor and birth
Taking lessons from your midwives can help you make informed decisions throughout pregnancy and birth
Other Classes Worth Taking
If you’ve finished taking your birthing classes early and still want to look into other ways to prepare yourself when the baby comes, check-out these classes:
Early Prenatal Class
These classes are typically taught once a month and are designed to educate pregnant women about preparing for a great pregnancy. It covers physical and emotional changes, nutrition, and stress-relieving techniques. Classes are often taught by certified childbirth educators.
Birthing From Within Childbirth Education
Birthing From Within classes focuses on teaching pregnant women how to cope emotionally as they prepare themselves for labor and delivery. This method helps you deal with anxiety and stress.
As most moms say, breastfeeding is really great for both babies and moms. These classes teach mothers how to breastfeed successfully. A certified lactation counselor teaches you how breastfeeding can help prevent postpartum depression. You'll learn how to have a positive breastfeeding experience, how to properly latch on, and how to nurse correctly. They also share tips on how to prevent engorgement and store breast milk.
Learn how to breastfeed successfully with the help of certified lactation consultants
Always Consult Your Doctor or Healthcare Provider
Pregnancy is an exciting experience. But always remember to be careful and cautious too. While these online birthing classes can be helpful, this does not substitute professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or healthcare provider to check if your health status allows you to take these classes.