How to choose the best birthing classes for you

choose a birthing class Monday, November 26, 2018

Birthing classes can help you know what to expect going into labor. It can also provide you with critical techniques for managing pain. But how do you find the best fit when there are so many options?

“The mom-to-be should do a little research online about each of them and decide which is most appealing for her,” says Stephanie Ros, MD, MSCI. Ros is an assistant professor, obstetrics, and gynecology at Morsani College of Medicine. She also directs the maternal fetal medicine residency program.

If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you might have extra factors to consider when you select a class. In some situations, your doctor may recommend against a vaginal birth. “It’s important to review the plan for birth and delivery with your doctor before investing in a birth class. That way you can choose a method that is most in line with the birth circumstances that apply to your health issues,” says Ros.

Even with higher risks, you’ll keep a lot of control over how your baby will be born. “Even if it requires some modifications, most moms can achieve the type of birth they envision. It is important to maintain some flexibility in the process because babies are unpredictable!” says Ros. “Keeping an open line of communication with your doctor is important.”

Some people opt to take one of these common birthing classes. Check your benefit booklet to find out about if birthing classes are covered under your Premera plan and talk to your doctor about which one might be right for you.


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Background:This birthing course is based on movement. It teaches you how to use correct posture, improve mobility, and maintain alertness during labor. These techniques help reduce stress and improve relaxation.

What to expect: This class takes place over the course of several weeks. It uses birthing balls, yoga mats, and other exercise aids to help prepare the mother's body for labor and delivery.

Where to find a class:

When it may be right for you: You want a class that offers techniques to help with balance, flexibility, and coordination. That goes beyond childbirth, including newborn care and breastfeeding.


Background: The goal of this holistic approach is to educate about natural childbirth. It also prepares your heart and soul, along with your mind and body. It includes information about C-sections, epidurals, and other interventions.

What to expect: This class offers parents a general learning experience as well as using your senses to help you discover how labor works. It also covers how to keep calm during the process while coping with any unexpected surprises.

Where to find a class:

When it may be right for you: You like the idea of working with a doula to assist you during delivery,* and a combination of modern science and ancient knowledge is appealing to you.


Background: This class involves the mother and a birth partner. It prepares you to deliver your baby without pain medications. It also educates your partner in birth-coaching techniques.

What to expect: Classes go through labor rehearsals. These rehearsals include methods to help mothers cope with the intensity of labor and delivery.

Where to find a class:

When it may be right for you: You prefer a class that teaches relaxation techniques and trains your partner to help coach you through labor.


Background: This all-natural childbirth class allows you to use the power of self-hypnosis techniques to manage pain and remain in control during labor. It’s intended to help mothers deal with pain in a natural way, without pain medication.

What to expect: Students must commit because the course involves lengthy class periods. Homework assignments several times per week help you hone the self-hypnosis technique.

Where to find a class:

When it may be right for you: You’re committed to trying to have a gentle, calm, and natural childbirth experience.


Background: This is the most used childbirth method in the United States today. The American Society for Psychoprophylaxis in Obstetrics introduced it in the 1960s.

What to expect: Lamaze focuses on building your confidence so that you can effectively navigate childbirth options. It involves learning about the birth process, relaxation techniques, and specialized breathing exercises to help you through contractions.

Where to find a class:

When it may be right for you: You’re looking to reduce unnecessary medical interventions with a tried-and-true method for natural childbirth.

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