Enrolling in a child birthing class is an excellent way for you (as well as your partner, should you want them to join you) to prepare for the journey of childbirth. Not only will taking a birthing class ease some of your pre-birth anxiety, but it will also inform you of the nuances involved in the childbirth process, which will allow you to have a more comfortable birthing experience.

There have actually been studies conducted on women who’ve taken birthing classes which show that these women are more likely to have a proper vaginal birth (as well as lessen the chance of needing surgical intervention). Whether you’re curious about what a birthing class teaches, or need to know what to look for in a birthing class provider, this article is for you.

In the following sections, we cover exactly what you need to look for when searching for a birthing class to enroll in, as well as what the topics of that class will (most likely) be. Remember, taking a birthing class is optional, but those who do will be a lot more prepared for the birthing process than those who don’t.

What You’re Going to Learn During Class

While there are different types of class forms (i.e. in-person vs online), most of them will be covering the same sorts of topics. Most of the focus will be on reducing your anxieties, as well as providing you with techniques for going through labor (i.e. pain management, breathing tips, etc).

Online Classes vs In-Person Classes

There’s been a lot of chatter lately about online birthing classes. Are they useful? Are in-person classes better? The answers to these questions depend entirely on your personal preference. If you’re comfortable learning online, that style of class might be more suitable for you. However, if you like engaging via the teacher-student dynamic in-person, it probably makes more sense for you to find a local class.

Online courses have many advantages compared to in-person classes, with the primary one being convenience. Most women opt to take their online birthing classes from the comfort of their homes (and we don’t blame them).

Note: If you want to learn more about online birthing classes, there are many resources available online.

What to Look for in a Birthing Class

It doesn’t matter if you want to enroll in a local birthing class or choose one that’s online, there are certain topics/subjects that all classes should cover. While different classes generally have different methodologies, the goal of any class should be arming women with the power to confidently give birth (and endure the labor process).

No two teachers are the same, and there are obviously many differences between learning/teaching styles. Below are some of the main things to look for when searching for a birthing class:

  • How to identify when you’re going to go into labor
  • An overview of how long the labor/birthing process will take (and what to expect in each cycle)
  • Pain management strategies, tips, and tactics
  • Advice for your partner on helping you deal with labor-related issues
  • The exact moment when you need to contact your doctor/midwife (or go to the hospital)
  • Any potential complications that might occur during labor
  • How those complications can be effectively treated

Overview of Different Birthing Methods/Teaching Styles

There are quite a few different birthing methods/learning formats currently out there. Many of these are relatively new, and others have been around for at least a few decades (ever since the 1970s when birthing classes started becoming more popular). Below is a list of some of the most common teaching formats:

  • International Childbirth Education Association
  • Lamaze
  • HypnoBirth
  • Alexander
  • Bradley

Those are just a few of the more common teaching styles/methods, there are many other ones. While these formats might differ in certain areas/techniques, they all aim to make women more informed about labor/birthing.

How to Make Your Decision

One of the most important things to remember about choosing a birthing class is that you need to make sure you’re comfortable with the teaching style/method. There’s no perfect class, and some might be better than others (based on your personal preferences).

Always do some basic research into a specific class, provider, or teacher that you’re considering using. If you know more about the teaching format prior to enrollment, you’ll be better prepared for success both in the class and during your actual birthing.

So, when it comes down to choosing a specific class/teacher/method, keep in mind what type of labor process you want to have, whether or not you want a natural birth, etc. These should all be taken into consideration when going through the decision making process.