There’s something about the word free that sends people running. Free samples at the grocery store. A free gift with your purchase. And, yep, even free childbirth classes.
But you know what they say: here’s no such thing as free lunch. Though you might not have to shell out any money for free childbirth classes, they do require your time. And to borrow another idiom we all know: time is money.
So are free childbirth classes worth it? We’ll break it all down for you here.
Free Childbirth Classes Near Me
Though a free childbirth class sounds pretty good, in reality there aren’t many free in-person birthing classes.
Childbirth classes are highly specialized, and there’s so much mileage to cover. Because of this, birthing classes are usually taught by midwives or other birthing professional who need to be paid for their time and knowledge. If they don’t charge for the class, they wouldn’t be making money—they might even end up losing money.
That said, it is possible to find free childbirth classes in your area. Here’s how:
- Use Google: The fastest way to find free childbirth classes, is to Google “free childbirth classes near me.” This will usually return local results if there are any.
- Call your local hospital: Free childbirth classes are usually offered by local hospitals and are usually open to the public. But it’s important to note that these generally will not be the most naturally-minded birthing courses. Instead, they are typically one-time classes that offer a general overview of what to expect during delivery at that hospital.
Best Free Online Childbirth Classes
These days, many couples find that online birthing classes are actually more convenient and less expensive… or even free!
That’s right: There are a number of free childbirth classes available online. But are they worth your time? Here’s a quick review of the best free online childbirth classes available today:
Baby Center Birthing Classes Review
Baby Center, a website perhaps best known for their message boards, hosts free childbirth classes that cover a wide range of topics including the very basics—how to time contractions and when to call the doctor or midwife—to the more complex—natural pain relief and perineal tearing. They also dedicate a portion of the course to newborn care, including routine tests, delayed cord clamping, and feeding.
The series is hosted by Linda Murray, BabyCenter’s website editor, and though fairly comprehensive, it’s a bit sterile and topics are largely glossed over. And although they do cover some topics relevant to natural mamas, it’s not the most naturally-minded. Most of the content hinges on the assumption that the student plans to give birth in a hospital setting.
Class duration: 7 classes, totaling 2 hours and 12 minutes
Pros: Hey, it’s free!
Cons: Content is a bit sterile and boring, mainly featuring Murray on a white background reading from a teleprompter. Also, Murray has no medical qualifications.
BabyMed Childbirth Class Review
Though BabyMed considers this a free childbirth class, it’s very important to note that it is entirely text-based—there is no video content.
Because of this, this particular birth class feels more like reading a website. While there is a lot of information, there is a lot of jumping from page to page. This makes the entire experience a bit cumbersome and confusing, as well as very time-consuming.
That said, it may be a decent option for anyone who wants to quickly pick and choose select topics—just make sure you set aside ample reading time.
Class duration: Undefined, but the course is broken down into 10 “classes.”
Pros: May be okay for someone looking for info on a certain topic. BabyMed is associated with an OB-GYN.
Cons: Isn’t really a birth course. BabyMed has plummeted in popularity over the past couple years.
If you know what to search for, you can learn just about anything on YouTube—and that includes how to give birth. There are plenty of free childbirth “classes” on YouTube. Some of them are short and sweet; some of them are rather comprehensive. Some of them are hosted by midwives and other very qualified professionals; some of them… are not.
While searching YouTube for free childbirth classes can be fruitful, it’s up to you to weed through the good stuff and the not-so-good stuff. This can be time-consuming… and you may still walk away without learning all that much.
To up your chances of finding quality content, look for classes created by certified midwives or nurses.
Class duration: Varies significantly.
Cons: You don’t know what you’re getting—or who exactly is teaching.
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Free Childbirth Class Samples
There are a couple of other childbirth courses out there that offer one free birthing class.
This is a great way to get acquainted with a particular course before you decide whether to make the purchase, but it’s not a great option if you’re looking for truly free childbirth classes.
By watching only one class in a series, you’ll miss out on a lot of important information covered in subsequent classes.
Free Lamaze Classes Review
In-person Lamaze classes follow a six-step approach to a safe and healthy birth. Through this, their goal is to give expectant mothers confidence in their bodies’ ability to give birth using natural pain management techniques.
In addition to these local classes, the organization provides a single free online class called “Labor Confidence With Lamaze.” The class is considered an introduction to the Lamaze approach—it is not nearly as comprehensive as their in-person classes. And, it’s important to note that there is a lot of reading material. This is not the right course for you if you’re hoping to simply listen. Additionally, some moms criticize Lamaze as too hospital- and intervention-friendly.
Class duration: About 10 minutes of video, plus lots of written material
Cons: Is really just a snippet of a course. Mama Natural does not endorse the Lamaze method.
The Online Prenatal Class for Couples Review
The Pulling Curls Online Prenatal Class for Couples is a birthing class specifically created for, well, couples. The birthing class, taught by an ACLS, NRP, and AWHONN fetal-monitoring certified labor and delivery nurse, aims to simplify the birthing process for busy couples. It takes everything from third trimester testing, to delivery (including special circumstances, like c-section), to basic baby care.
This course offers a free beginning prenatal class, and then includes you in a sales sequence to sign up for the full, paid course.
This particular lesson is very succinct and includes an overview of third trimester testing, common labor fears, and a few tips to tuck away for after baby arrives. Rather than lean on it to glean lots of helpful information, use it to judge whether the style of the course suits you.
Class duration: about 8 minutes
Pros: Free. Good sampler of the course.
Cons: Just a snippet of the course. Course is mostly written materials.
Kopa Birth Class Review
If you’re set on having a natural hospital birth, this online childbirth class may be a good choice for you. The Kopa Birth Course, taught by a registered nurse and certified childbirth educator, guides couples through the process with a focus on avoiding unnecessary medical interventions.
The free version of their course is one hour long—and you have access to it for two weeks. It’s the first class in their eight-part video course. When you register for the free course, you enter an email sales sequence that encourages you to sign up for the full, paid course.
That said, if you really want a free childbirth class, this is probably the most naturally-minded option available to you.
Class duration: 1 hour
Pros: Good sampler of the course. Kopa is one of the better online birth courses on the market.
Cons: Just 1/8th of the full, paid childbirth education course.
But… Is a Free Childbirth Class Right for You??
The point of a birthing class is to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to feel confident and make informed decisions during labor and delivery. The more you know about the birthing process, the less fearful you’ll be when the big day arrives.
In that sense, most childbirth classes help in some way.
Just know that free childbirth classes are not the most comprehensive or well-established courses.
As mentioned above, it takes a lot of time and expertise to craft a comprehensive birthing class—a quality childbirth class is not something most people can give away for free.
Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to discourage you from taking a birthing class.
- If you’re on a tight budget or just want to jump around, free childbirth classes may be a fine place to begin.
- But, if you really want to dig deep and have the most empowered natural birth possible, I have another great option for you. It’s not free, but it is affordable—especially considering everything you’ll walk away with.
The Mama Natural Birth Course
It may not be free, but if you’re looking for an online birthing class, I can’t recommend the The Mama Natural Birth Course enough. Yes, I’m biased… but it’s true.
Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Maura Winkler and I spent a very long time developing—and perfecting—this naturally-minded class. You could even call it my fourth baby!
When you take the course, you’ll get:
- A comprehensive curriculum: The 12-hour, eight-part on-demand course—hosted by me (a crunchy mom of three!) and Maura Winkler, a certified nurse midwife, a registered nurse (RN), a doula, a breastfeeding counselor, and a placenta encapsulator—covers the entire process of preparing for and experiencing a natural birth. We also walk through the first several weeks of postpartum care for baby and mama and have an entire class on breastfeeding.
- Flexible and convenient methods: You don’t need to rush home from work or drive to a birthing class. You can take it where you want, when you want. Some students take one class per week; others cram the whole thing into one weekend.
- Personalized support: Though some mamas want face-t0-face support, our birth course offers this same luxury. Once you enroll, you’ll get access to private Facebook groups. These groups entitle you to 24/7 access to me and Maura (plus other expectant mamas!).
- Special bonuses: Students of The Mama Natural Birth Course also get plenty of extras, like segments on nutrition, natural remedies for common pregnancy complaints, and weekly practice sessions.
Curious to learn more? Scroll through some birth stories from our students to see how the course has helped other women (and couples) have an empowered natural birth.