Choosing the Best Childbirth Class

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Childbirth methods vary and so does what you learn in class.

Are there ways to make sure you are getting value for your time and money spent for childbirth classes?

One thing I frequently hear from parents is that their childbirth class was a waste of time. This says to me that they should have spent more time researching available childbirth classes in their local area. Don’t assume that classes held in large institutional settings will be better. Often the best childbirth classes are ones that offered in the educator’s home or a non-medical setting.

Below are questions to ask before you register for your childbirth class:

What is the childbirth class size? If the class is very large (8-10 or more couples) parents might not have the opportunity to socialize much or ask questions.

What are the teaching methods used in class? How much time is spent on lecture, videos and practice? Likely the more hands-on and practice, the more parents will remember.

Are comfort measures for labor taught in the childbirth class? I am hearing that fewer and fewer childbirth classes today offer information about non-medical pain relief options.

Is the childbirth educator certified? Certification varies widely. Ask her about what her certification process involved if you do not recognize the name of the organization.

What is her philosophy about birth? Does her philosophy about birth match yours?

Does she have freedom to share information in the childbirth class? Is the instructor able to share evidence-based research and options for birth in the childbirth class or does the curriculum have to be screened or approved?

Does the educator cover all aspects of birth including medical interventions and unexpected outcomes? More classes today are offering specific methods as a one-size-fits-all approach toward childbirth preparation. Be sure that you discuss every situation in class including natural childbirth, medicated birth, labor inductions and cesarean births.

Can you get references? Find out if you can speak with a parent who has finished the childbirth class before you.A good rule of thumb is if you cannot speak to your instructor prior to registering for the childbirth class, do not take it.

Did you enjoy your childbirth classes? Share your experience.

For more information in planning your birth including writing birth plans and questions to ask your provider, click here.

Also visit Lamaze.org for more information about finding a childbirth educator in your area.