EXPERT Q&A

What are the different types of birthing classes?

Choosing a birthing class is the perfect place to start as you prepare for your new baby. Family Nurse Practitioner and CareNectar expert Crystal Morgan provides information on different types birthing classes and how to select one that’s right for you.

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Question

I’m having my first baby very soon and have been doing some research on different types of birthing classes. I’m trying to learn the differences between them and determine which ones might be the best fit for me. Can you detail the different types of birthing classes and how I might select one?

Answer

There are many things to consider as you prepare for your new baby, and choosing a birthing class is the perfect place to start! There are many different types of classes to consider, which I’ve detailed below. Selecting the class that best suits your needs can help you prepare for one of the most joyous, yet overwhelming, experiences of a lifetime. Class topics can also vary. Knowing what is important to you can help you choose the appropriate class. Here are some of the most common childbirth classes and what you can expect to learn.

The Lamaze Technique

The Lamaze Technique is one of the most popular birthing classes. The techniques focus on educating the mother on her rights during labor while preparing her to have a low intervention birthing experience. During this class, you will learn breathing techniques for pain management that increase your confidence in maintaining control while in labor. This technique focuses on healthy birth practices that include going into labor on your own, walking around while in labor, having continuous support, receiving no interventions unless medically needed, delivering in an upright position, and rooming-in or keeping your baby at your bedside during your hospital stay. Breastfeeding education is also a part of the Lamaze curriculum. This class is 12 hours long.

The Bradley Method 

The Bradley Method focuses largely on having a non-medicated labor, as well as preparing a partner or another support person to be the birth coach. Topics in this class include education on health and nutrition, all stages of pregnancy, newborn care, and unforeseen circumstances during pregnancy and labor. This is a very in-depth class that lasts 12 weeks and has a small class size. Make sure you have enough time to complete the course before delivering.

HypnoBirthing

HypnoBirthing teaches deep relaxation techniques that help mothers take control of their minds. These techniques allow complete relaxation of the muscles and allow your body to do what it was designed to do naturally. The relaxation techniques help decrease stress and allow the body’s natural hormones that are responsible for pain relief to be released. This class has 5 sessions that are 2.5 hours per session. 

The Alexander Method

The Alexander Method focuses on movement and stretching. It allows those who have been active before pregnancy to continue to do so. This class is also great for those who have had physical discomfort during pregnancy. There is no set time needed to complete the class and you can take as many classes as you would like.

Birthing From Within

This type of class focuses on the emotional aspect of pregnancy and the birthing process and can be taken independently. If you have any specific worries, plans, or specific outcomes you want to achieve, this type of class may be just what you need. The use of drawing, journaling, and other creative interventions are incorporated into Birthing From Within classes.

Before choosing your birthing class, make sure to take into consideration cost and convenience. You may also want to check with your delivery hospital, as they may offer classes for new parents. These may give you a broad overview of labor but also include education on what to expect as it relates to your specific delivery hospital. It is also important to speak with your health care provider and share your wishes with them.

I hope this information was helpful! The CareNectar team is here for you!

Meet The Expert


Crystal Morgan

Crystal is a Board-Certified Lactation Consultant and Family Nurse Practitioner with more than 18 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in Labor and Delivery, Postpartum, and Newborn Nursery. She is passionate about all things related to women’s health and maternal child including breastfeeding education and support, and health and wellness promotion. Learn more and contact her at: toughtittylactation.com