So you’re 4 or 5 months into your pregnancy, your belly is getting bigger, and you realize, “Woah, we’re really going to have this baby; we better get prepared!” But how? Birthing classes are a good place to start.
In this article, we’ll answer all of your most pressing questions about birthing classes, including:
What Are Birthing Classes?
Think of a childbirth class as a 101 on all things related to childbirth and delivery. Though classes range in timeframe and comprehensiveness, they all have one thing in common: they provide information to help prepare you for what’s to come, so you can go into childbirth with less reservation and more empowered to make informed decisions.
Do I Need to Take Birthing Classes?
Knowledge is power. The more you know about the birthing process and how your body slowly (or sometimes rapidly) dilates to prepare for your baby’s arrival, the less fearful you’ll be during labor.
You’ll also understand the rhythm of pushing and the intensity of transition.
Unfortunately, for most women, the majority of what they know about childbirth comes from Hollywood depictions of a screaming, hysterical woman in stirrups on a metal table.
Birth does NOT have to be that way (and shouldn’t be that way!).
By taking birthing classes, especially one that’s geared toward natural birth, you’ll learn a whole new way of approaching the big day.
Birthing classes will help you:
- Gain confidence in your body’s ability to give birth.
- Understand the physiological process of birth, which will help you feel more confident.
- Learn effective and natural pain management strategies.
- Understand the many benefits of going natural if that’s what you pursue.
- Create an informed and empowered partner, who will know how to support you.
- Nurture relationships with other natural mamas who have similar pregnancy due dates.
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When Should You Take Birthing Classes?
You can take a birthing class at any time during your pregnancy, but the second trimester is generally a sweet spot. At this stage of pregnancy, you are typically still relatively comfortable and have the most energy. It’s also far enough along that you’ll retain the information you learn, but not so far along that you’ll feel rushed.
How Much Do Birthing Classes Cost?
The cost of childbirth classes varies widely, based on what type of class you’re taking and how comprehensive it is, as well as your location.
- Bradley Method courses in Chicago cost around $400.
- Lamaze courses in Phoenix cost $375.
- Generic childbirth classes in Gainesville, FL cost 160.00.
- Online birthing courses range from $100 – $400.
While there are some free birthing classes available online, these are not the most comprehensive or well-established courses.
Are Birthing Classes Covered by Insurance?
Childbirth classes are not generally covered by health insurance, though you can check with your individual provider to get specifics.
Birthing classes are, however, considered partially eligible for reimbursement through a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA).
Where Can I Find Childbirth Classes Near Me?
Google is your friend here. Search “Childbirth classes near me” and you should see some local results.
If that fails, give Google Maps a try.
Or search Google or Yelp for “Midwife” to find an office or individual near you. Give these folks a call, as childbirth classes are sometimes taught in midwife offices. At the very least, a local midwife or midwifery office should be able to point you in the right direction.
There are pros and cons of taking birthing classes near you. The pros are that you’ll meet and form relationships with other pregnant couples. The cons are that they can be expensive and inconvenient to attend.
My hospital offers a birthing class – will that one be okay?
In most cases, we do not recommend in-hospital birthing classes.
In-hospital birthing courses generally teach women and couples how to be good patients as opposed to empowered birthers.
Of course, there are exceptions. Some “Baby Friendly” hospitals (that is an actual designation; call your hospital to see if they are certified) may be a little more conscious and encouraging. Or you may have an OBGYN who is more mother-centric and less intervention-focused.
But let’s face it. Over 32% of deliveries in the USA are done by Cesarean. (source)
Yes, C-sections save lives and are a critical part of our healthcare system. But the World Health Organization says that the ideal rate for caesarean sections is between 10-15%.
Something is wrong when the USA’s numbers are 200% or 300% higher than that ideal rate.
A good, out-of-hospital birth course may help you avoid becoming one of those statistics.
What Birthing Classes Are Right for Me?
While there isn’t one right way to have a natural birth,
There are many different types of birthing courses out there, all with their own philosophy, time commitment, and expense. You’ll want to research and find the one that fits you… your personality, your goals, and your learning style.
- There are hospital courses (which we generally do not recommend).
- There are in-person courses that teach the Bradley Method, Lamaze, or a competing curriculum.
- There are in-person courses conducted by local midwives or doulas.
- There are several great online childbirth classes as well.
Take all of these things into consideration when choosing the birthing class that fits your (and your partner’s) needs.
My Favorite Birth Course
Of course, I am a little biased, but my vote goes to The Mama Natural Birth Course.
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Maura Winkler and I poured our hearts and souls into this course, and we continue to work hard to make it the best-in-class birth course available online for moms who want a natural birth.
The Mama Natural Birth Course
The Mama Natural Birth Course is 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. The course includes:
- Comprehensive curriculum: Our 12-hour eight-part, online, on-demand course is designed to educate, inspire and empower moms and partners to deliver naturally. The course takes parents through the entire process of preparing for and experiencing a natural birth. These birth classes also include modules on the first several weeks with baby, with natural postpartum care for baby and mama. We also have an entire class on breastfeeding.
- Flexible and convenient methods: Because 12 hours of content are divided into 8 classes total, some students do one class per week, others cram the whole course in over a weekend.
- Personalized support: Mama Natural Birth Course students come together together in private Facebook groups to foster a sense of community and provide extra support. Students have 24/7 access to me and Maura in these private groups.
- Special bonuses: The Mama Natural Birth Course also includes bonuses, like weekly practice sessions to prepare your body and mind for childbirth, segments on nutrition, as well as a host of natural remedies for common pregnancy complaints.
And the cherry on top? We donate 10% of all profits to midwifery projects in the developing world, helping mamas in Uganda and Haiti bring their babies into the world safely.
Whatever You Decide…
Whichever route you chose to take, do yourself and your baby one big favor: Take a natural childbirth education course! It will make all the difference and empower you to feel in charge of your birth (no matter how it unfolds).
Keep in mind that over 80% of women get some sort of intervention during childbirth birth. It takes dedication, education, and support to take the path less traveled. But it is SO worth the work!
I have not met a single mama who has regretted giving birth naturally. It is truly a life-changing and soul-defining experience!
I wish you the best and most natural birth. ❤️