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FAQS: Birthing Classes and In-Hospital Prenatal Education
The birth class scene is a classic in any movie that involves pregnancy. One partner is doing deep rhythmic breathing while the other is straddling them, legs wrapped, offering words of encouragement like, "You got this, babe!" You're familiar with the concept and know the benefits, but you haven't quite decided if a birthing class is suitable for you. No stress! We've compiled some FAQs about birth preparation classes so you can make the best decision for yourself and your baby.
How Much Are Childbirth Classes?
The cost of childbirth classes depends on the duration of the course. For example, a five-week or longer class can cost anywhere between $300-$500. Bradley Method classes are typically spread out over 9-12 weeks. The famous Lamaze classes offered in most hospitals costs on average $110. They take about one week and are broken down into 2-4 hour segments or taught as a one-day intensive for about 6-8 hours.
Can I Take a Birthing Class Online?
The short answer is yes! Due to Covid-19, many birth classes have switched to virtual platforms.
Find the perfect classes for you! Visit The Best Online Birthing Classes of 2021
What Will I Learn in a Birthing Class?
Different birthing classes focus on various techniques to support you in a smooth labor and birth experience. For example, The Lamaze Method of Childbirth focuses on labor and birth as a natural event. You will learn particular breathing exercises and natural relaxation techniques for coping with discomfort in labor.
The Bradley Method is another widely known course that encourages you to trust your body. It focuses on nutrition, exercise, and lifestyle throughout pregnancy. The Bradley Method emphasizes involving your partner as your primary support coach and teaches techniques on how they can best support you.
If you're taking one of these classes or a class from an independent childbirth educator, you will learn:
Best practices for navigating labor and birth
Massage techniques for pain management
Breathing and relaxation methods
Labor support and coping mechanisms
Productive commutation skills
How to manage emotions during labor and birth
Information about medical procedures
Fundamentals of breastfeeding
Nutrition and lifestyle recommendations
When Should I Take a Childbirth Class?
In general, birth classes are recommended to pregnant people in their third trimester; however, many folks have found that early childbirth classes provide confidence and peace of mind throughout their pregnancy. If you are exploring taking a class session where information is spread across several weeks or a few months, it may be best to start during the second trimester to be sure you are able to complete the course before your baby arrives.
Benefits to early birth classes:
More confidence and peace of mind
More education on prenatal and postpartum care
In depth understanding of the stages of labor
More time to troubleshoot your birth plan
Opportunity to connect with other pregnant people and build community
Should I Take the Birth Class Offered at My Hospital?
It's likely your midwife or doctor will recommend the birth class offered at your hospital, and it might be enticing to settle on that one without doing much research. There is nothing inherently wrong with these classes; however, there may be a few setbacks.
Class sizes tend to be large, and individual questions are not often answered. Plus, if you have a personal question, you might not feel safe to open up to a large group. Out-of-hospital classes typically host no more than 4-6 couples, creating a sense of intimacy and safety.
Hospital classes are only a few hours and only run for a couple of days, so some information will likely be left out. It's not uncommon to find an out-of-hospital childbirth class that runs anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks. This way, the participants get to know one another and build connections with others in the community who are at the same stage of life.
In the hospital, childbirth educators might be reluctant to share the whole truth about intervention rates at their hospital, especially if the rates are higher than others. A birth intervention simply means "any action taken by a midwife or doctor where they intervene in the birthing process to assist in the delivery." These interventions range from monitoring the baby’s heart rate to epidurals to c-sections. Some parents want a low intervention pregnancy, and it is likely that hospital birth classes will not provide you with options for achieving that best. Out-of-hospital classes, however, are more inclined towards supporting birthing people in their original birth plans through education and exploration of all options.
How Do I Know My Birth Educator is Qualified to Teach?
Before joining a birth class, it's a good idea to do a quick Google search to ensure your teacher has been through some type of formal training. Here are a few certified childbirth educator courses:
ICEA: International Childbirth Education Association
ACBE: Academy of Certified Birth Educators
CAPPA: Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association
These are just some of the most popular birth education courses, but there are several more. If you aren't sure, ask your teacher about their qualifications! If they are properly educated, they will be happy to volunteer the information.
Can I Attend a Birth Class Solo?
Absolutely! There is no rule that says a partner or a support person must accompany you to a birth class. There are dozens of reasons why someone might fly solo, and all are entirely acceptable. That said, many people express the benefits of having some type of birth coach throughout their pregnancy. At Birthify, we offer virtual birth coaching, which means all your interactions with your coach happen over the phone, email, video chat, and text. This gives you the opportunity for support by an educated birth coach during your pregnancy without the hassle of meeting up in person.
Knowledge is always power, and the more you learn about your birth, the better you'll feel as you get closer and closer to delivery. We understand that group settings aren't for everyone, yet we see the benefits of having one-on-one support throughout pregnancy.
Whether you join a class or not, consider a Birthify Coach to support you on your journey toward parenthood. For as little as $40 per week, you can have access to a vetted and trained birth professional at your fingertips! All you have to do is answer a few questions, and we will match you with a Birthify Coach that fits your needs.
Find more information here and get matched today!
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