Did you know that the unknown is the root of fear and anxiety? Studies show that when we don’t know what to expect, we spend more time and energy thinking about the bad things that may occur.
With that in mind, it makes sense that taking a childbirth class can make you better equipped to have a less painful and more fulfilling natural birth. Still, you may wonder: where can I find birthing classes near me?
Here’s a bit of good news: There are tons of birthing classes near you, whether you live in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, or somewhere in between. In this article, we’ll tell you exactly where to find a childbirth class in your area, plus review the most popular in-person options.
And—bonus—we’ll even give you all the details on a childbirth class that’s so close to you, you don’t even have to leave your house.
How to Find Birthing Classes Near You
No matter where you live, chances are good that you can find birthing classes in your area. Here’s how:
- Use Google. The trusted search engine is your best place to start. Simply search “birthing classes near me,” and you should get some hyper-local results. If nothing jumps out at you, try searching “midwife” to find an office near you. Give them a call—because birthing classes are often taught by midwives, chances are they can point you in the right direction.
- Use Google Maps. Try typing “birth class” (or another variation of that: “childbirth class,” “birthing class,” “birth course”) into the destination field. If there are birthing classes near you, it may return some of these results, plus show you exactly how far away they are.
- Try Yelp. Yelp functions like a search engine for local business. Again, type something like “birthing classes” into the search bar to see what turns up. You’ll get the added benefit of being able to read reviews of any childbirth classes it turns up.
- Get on Facebook. Many cities and towns have Facebook groups for parents in the area. These pages can be great resources for a number of things, including finding childbirth classes. Simply post a note that reads something like: “Hey! I’m looking for a great birthing class near me. Does anyone have any suggestions? Would love to hear from other parents who’ve been there, done that!”
A Review of the Most Popular In-Person Birthing Classes
Once you’ve established a list of birthing classes in your area, you’ll want to weigh your choices. Here’s a look at some very common childbirth education classes around the country:
Lamaze Class Review
One of the first “natural” approaches out there, Lamaze birth classes are best known for their breathing instruction. In the ’70-80s, there was some controversy about the style of breathing taught by Lamaze. The shorter, faster breaths led some moms to hyperventilate—a big no-no in birthing! However, Lamaze has changed some of their breathing pattern techniques and is supposed to be safe today.
Beyond breathing, their birthing classes also focus on preparing expectant mothers with a six-step approach to enabling a safe and healthy birth. Lamaze aspires to help expectant mothers gain confidence in their bodies’ ability to give birth and prepares mom with natural pain management techniques.
But some moms criticize Lamaze as being too hospital and intervention-friendly.
Class duration: Roughly 12 hours of instruction which may be divided into six 2 hour classes or one or two intensive “crash courses”
Cost: Varies by location. The national average according to costhelper is $110
How do I find lamaze classes near me?
To find a lamaze class near you, use the organization’s search function. You can search by city or country. Or, if you live in the U.S., you can search by zip code.
Bradley Method Classes Review
Bradley Method classes are in-person and follow an evidence-based approach to childbirth that supports a safe and healthy birth. It’s based on a book by Dr. Robert A. Bradley called Husband-Coached Childbirth that emphasizes the father/partner as the birthing coach (rather than a doula) and gives them defined roles throughout the pregnancy and delivery.
Bradley classes are very naturally minded. They also cover information beyond labor and delivery such as nutrition, exercise, and postpartum care.
Class duration: 12 weeks, usually 1 1/2-2 hours per class over a three-month period
Cost: $200-$500 (10% of your area’s midwifery cost)
How do I find Bradley Method classes near me?
To find a Bradley Method class in the U.S., use their search tool. You can search by state, area code, zip code, or by a specific teacher’s name. If you live abroad, use this search tool to find a Bradley Method class in your area.
Informed Beginnings Class Review
Informed Beginnings are in-person birth classes that seek to help families make informed choices about how they bring children into the world. This birth class emphasizes that natural childbirth and breastfeeding are healthiest and safest for mom and baby, while being sensitive to the needs of families who require medical intervention.
Informed Beginnings also asserts the importance of the role of the partner during birth and a loving support team during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
Class duration: Varies by location, but generally lasts about 10 weeks
Cost: Varies by location, but a course in Chicago costs $350
How do I find an Informed Beginnings Class Near Me?
Informed Beginnings is a newer course, and is only offered in select locations. Visit their website to find Informed Beginnings classes near you.
Hypnobirthing Classes (aka The Mongan Method) Review
Hypnobirthing takes a different approach to labor than most classes. Instead of teaching mamas how to “manage pain,” Hypnobirthing coaches moms on how to avoid a fear-tension-pain cycle. They teach that labor-related pain is often born out of fear and tension, and this can be lessened using hypnosis.
It’s important to note that a three-year study by Britain’s National Institute for Health Research found that self-hypnosis made only a minor difference in helping women avoid pain relief during labor, but it did help them alleviate some fear around birth.
Class duration: Five 2.5 hour classes (doesn’t include “practice” time)
Cost: $200-$400 for in person classes, depending on location
How do I find hypnobirthing classes near me?
The Hypnobirthing International website has a search function that allows you to find a hypnobirthing classes all around the world. Simply type in your city or town to return the closest results.
Hypnobabies Class Review
Hypnobabies (a competitor of hypnobirthing) teaches relaxation and visualization techniques to reduce fear and pain during childbirth. Unlike Hypnobirthing, Hypnobabies also teaches medical hypno-anesthesia techniques catered specifically to childbirth.
Some moms consider it to be a more comprehensive course than hypnobirthing. Other moms have criticized Hypnobirthing birth classes for being too “New Age.”
Class duration: 6 weeks, 3 hours per class (doesn’t include “practice” time)
How do I find a hypnobabies class near me?
To find a hypnobabies class in your area, use the organization’s search feature. Choose your country from the drop down menu, then type out the name of your state or province.
Birthing From Within Classes Review
Birthing From Within emphasizes birth as a rite of passage rather than a medical event. According to their philosophy, birth is a time for self-discovery and, because each couple is unique, their class curriculum changes based on the needs of the individual couple.
The main focus is preventing or minimizing emotionally difficult birth through preparation and pain management techniques. They incorporate journaling, artwork, and other creative outlets of expression.
Birthing From Within birthing classes is probably the most “hippy” of the birthing classes and probably best for the creative types.
Class duration: 5-6 weeks, 2-3 hour classes or weekend intensive classes
How do I find Birthing From Within classes near me?
There are Birthing From Within classes all around the world (except Asia). Use their directory to find a class near you.
Where Can I Find Free Birthing Classes Near Me?
There aren’t nearly as many free in-person birthing classes. Why? Childbirth classes are rather involved and often taught be a professional. And you know what they say: Time is money.
That said, it’s not impossible to find a free birthing class in your area. As mentioned above, the best way to find free birthing classes, is to Google “free birthing classes near me.” This will return the most local results.
If you’re having trouble, call your local hospital. These organizations are most likely to have free (or very inexpensive) classes open to the public. Just keep in mind: These will not be the most naturally-minded courses. They are generally one-time classes that provide a very general overview of what to expect when you give birth at that hospital.
There are some free birthing classes available online—on Baby Center, Lamaze, or YouTube, for example—but these are not the most comprehensive or well-established courses.
Is an Online Birthing Class a Better Option?
These days, many moms and couples opt to do their childbirth education via an online course. In most cases, an online course costs less money, and it’s also WAY more convenient.
You don’t need to drive across town to attend an online childbirth class. You are free to take the birth class WHERE you want to (the couch) and also WHEN you want to (whenever you and your partner can make the time).
Though some mamas feel more comfortable getting face-t0-face support, the best online birthing classes do offer this same luxury.
You may not be able to raise your hand and ask a question in the middle of the lecture (the way you might in person), but some online birthing classes, like the Mama Natural Birth Course, give you 24/7 access to instructors via email and special private Facebook groups.
In some cases, you may even get more support.
The Best Online Childbirth Class: The Mama Natural Birth Course
When it comes to a naturally-minded online childbirth class, I can’t recommend The Mama Natural Birth Course enough. Am I biased? Yes, but… Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Maura Winkler and I labored (pun intended) over this course to make it the birth course available online for moms who want a natural birth.
It’s hosted by yours truly (a crunchy mama of three) and Maura Winkler, a certified nurse midwife, a registered nurse (RN), a doula, a breastfeeding counselor, and a placenta encapsulator. When you take the course, you’ll get:
- A comprehensive curriculum: The 12-hour, eight-part on-demand course walks parents through the entire process of preparing for and experiencing a natural birth. We also cover the first several weeks of postpartum care for baby and mama, plus have an entire class on breastfeeding.
- Flexible and convenient methods: Because the online content is divided into eight classes, some students take one class per week, while others cram the whole thing in over the course of a weekend.
- Personalized support: As a student, you’ll get access to private Facebook groups that foster a sense of community and provide extra support. This also entitles you to 24/7 access to me and Maura through these groups.
- Special bonuses: The Mama Natural Birth Course also includes extras, like segments on nutrition, a host of natural remedies for common pregnancy complaints, and weekly practice sessions.
Take a look at some birth stories from our students. It’s been so powerful and rewarding to help these mamas have their best and most empowered births.
The Bottom Line is… TAKE A BIRTHING CLASS!
Whether you Google “birthing class near me” and opt for the first result or spend your weekend researching the best childbirth classes ever created, promise me you’ll do one thing: Take a birthing class!
Childbirth education classes make all the difference and set you up to have the most empowered birth possible.
Learn more about childbirth classes, including how much they cost and whether or not your insurance will cover them.