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Your body knows how to give birth—but your mind can have a hard time understanding what it's going to be like before the first time you go into labor. It's hard to mentally prepare for what to anticipate. That's why, when it comes to getting informed about giving birth, it really helps to be proactive.
Do the hard work of understanding the process and preparing for the big day. Many find that taking a birth class doesn't only help them have a better birth experience but also helps them feel calmer before the big day. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to monumental events like birth!
That philosophy is what drove us to create The Motherly Birth Class, a research-based, women-centered online birth class.
We're big fans of The Motherly Birth Class, but there are certainly other options out there. Here's what you need to know about birth classes and finding the best birth class for you:
Why should I consider taking a birth class?
Planning to welcome your baby is no small feat—there is just SO. MUCH. to think about. And honestly, it can be overwhelming. But don't worry. That's why birth classes exist! Here are 5 ways that taking a birth class will make such a big difference for you now and after your birth:
1. You'll know what to expect—which means peace of mind for you, starting NOW.
A birth class will teach you how to know when you're in labor, when to go to your birthing place, what happens once you get there… and so much more. Taking the mystery out of the adventure ahead will help you relax, and really enjoy your pregnancy now.
2. You'll learn how to plan for your birth.
A lot goes into making a birth plan (or as we like to call it, your birth preferences.) Who do I want to attend my birth? How do I really feel about pain medication? How do I want my baby to be cared for in those first hours of her life? A great birth class will guide you through each and every one of those decisions, and help you figure out what makes the most sense for YOU and YOUR BIRTH.
3. You'll trust that you CAN cope.
We hear a lot of stories about how tough labor is. And while yes, it is hard, it can also be really beautiful. Learning a variety of coping skills (no matter what type of birth you are planning) will help you deal with the discomfort of birth, and even enjoy your experience. And knowing that you have those coping skills under your belt will make you feel even more relaxed about your upcoming birth.
4. You'll have an awesome birth partner.
Taking a birth class with your partner will help them help you—a lot. They will feel more confident about the process, and they'll know how to best help you manage. What an awesome way to start this adventure together.
5. You'll get tips and tricks for the event of bringing your baby home.
Becoming a mom is amazing (understatement of the year). But it can be tough too. A birth class that can help you prepare for those first days and weeks at home with a new baby is invaluable. Prep now, so you spend 24/7 cuddling, snuggling and healing.
When should I take a birth class?
The end of the second trimester and beginning of the third trimester is a great time to take a birth class. It's close enough to your due date that things feel "real" and you'll remember what you learned, but not so close that you could risk missing some of it if you go into labor sooner than planned.
Ultimately though, there isn't a "wrong" time to take a birth class. You can take it as early as you feel ready, and you can also take it at the last minute—especially when online birth classes are an option!
Where can I find a birth class?
If you are delivering at a hospital or a birth center, that's a good chance they offer a birth class. Not only can you expect to learn about coping techniques to use during contractions and what different labor terms mean, but you will probably also get a tour of the space and specific information about what to do when checking in. (Have your partner pay extra close attention to that last one... You may not be thinking too clearly when that time actually comes.)
If your hospital doesn't offer classes, or they aren't the “type" of birth you're looking for, check out local parenting centers, many of which host more in-depth classes.
(Wondering if birth classes covered by insurance? They might be!)
How do I choose the best birth class for me?
So you've gotten to the point in your pregnancy when you are ready to take a birth class. But how do you choose? Like so much on this journey into motherhood, the choices can feel like a lot! We've put together a list of things to look for when choosing the class that's best for you.
1. Is it welcoming?
You are a rock star. Yes, already. You deserve a class that makes you feel like it! Choose a class that makes you feel welcome and important (no judgment of my birth choices, please!). You should leave the class feeling awesome about yourself, your body and your birth. It's that simple.
2. Is it convenient?
Let's face it, we are all super-busy, especially when a new baby is about to make their grand entrance. The last thing you need is one more stress on your plate. Be sure to choose a class that fits into your lifestyle and schedule, so that you can truly enjoy it and focus on it.
3. Is it led by an expert?
Birth is an art. Being a birth expert involves profound knowledge of the human body of course, but also a deep understanding of the ways our minds and bodies are connected during pregnancy and birth (and beyond). And then the expert needs to be able to teach those important concepts in a way that is understandable, inspiring and fun. Make sure the person teaching your class has tons of experience with birth, and is someone that connects with you on an emotional level as well.
4. Is it based on scientific research?
Birth is an evolving science—we learn more about it every day. You want a birth class that provides the most up-to-date information that is based on current research, so that you can approach your birth as confidently as possible.
We kept all of these questions in mind as we created The Motherly Birth Class. It is a comprehensive, nonjudgmental class to help you have your best birth.
What else should I know?
Other factors to consider are how the classes will fit into your schedule, whether they are participatory or more lecture-based, what are the qualifications of the instructor and what is covered beyond actual labor techniques.
If you decide to sign up for a class, try to have some fun while learning. Sure, it might be goofy to practice “whoo-haa" breathing techniques in a room full of people, but these skills really will help out on delivery day.
Ready to sign up for The Motherly Birth Class? Learn more about insurance coverage and get started here.