A question that is often asked is whether birthing classes are worth it, and if they are even necessary. There are many things that one needs to consider when it comes to pregnancy, with one of those things being if you should take birthing classes and if they are worth it for you.
In this article we will be exploring what birthing and Lamaze classes are all about. Plus, we will provide you all the details you need in order to make an informed choice on whether to sign up for a birthing class.
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What Are Birthing & Lamaze Classes?
Is there a difference between birthing and Lamaze classes? Yes there is, although it is very subtle.
Lamaze classes provide you more confidence in coping and working through labor. They teach techniques to deal with pain management during labor and how to have a calmer birthing experience.
There are also classes that are referred to commonly as birthing classes. These types of courses give a more in-depth overview of the entire labor and delivery process, plus will explore your postpartum experience.
At the end of the day both birthing classes and Lamaze classes are there to assist you and guide you through labor and birthing. But, with birthing classes you will receive more information for surviving the end of the third trimester, and also for postpartum care.
Are Birthing Classes Really Worth It & Necessary?
The answer to this question is – YES (and partially no). In my opinion, birthing classes are 100% worth it. However, at the end of the day they are not technically necessary.
If you have the option and opportunity to take a birthing class, then I absolutely recommend that you do. Learn from my mistakes and my own difficult twin birth story that taking a birthing class can be extremely helpful in getting you through labor and delivery as smoothly as possible.
To catch you up, I took a twins class thinking I would learn about labor and delivery. And, while it was covered, it wasn’t a true birthing class. In the aftermath, I wished I had also taken a birthing class to be fully prepared for labor and delivery.
Birthing classes are especially important for first time mothers and fathers. If this is your second or third time being pregnant, you probably do not need a course.
However, there are cases during a second or third pregnancy that you might want to take one. For instance, if you are trying to have a vaginal birth after a C-section (VBAC), then you might be interested to check out a course, or vice versa. You will find more on this at the end of this article.
Birthing classes can really help put your mind at ease, and also answer a lot of questions which may be plaguing you. With that said, let’s take a look at the benefits of birthing classes in more detail.
What Are the Benefits of a Birthing Class?
Now that we have established that attending birthing classes is worth it, especially when you are a new mom-to-be, let’s look at the benefits of birthing and Lamaze classes in a little more detail.
A birthing class will always be given by someone who is an expert in the field. This means you can get the answers you are looking for (and we all have questions when it comes to pregnancy and birthing).
The answers you receive will be based on proper and current research, not what is trendy at the time.
A good birthing class leader will be able to give you the reassurance that you need as you progress through your pregnancy and head towards the big day. You will gain more confidence and be able to make the right decisions for you and your family.
Lower Risk of Medical Intervention
These medical interventions include C-sections. Obviously, if you elect to have a caesarean section that is entirely your own choice.
But, for a mom-to-be who is opting for a natural birth, attending birth classes can help lower the chances of a medical C-section being necessary. You will also be less likely to need pain killers or an epidural during a natural vaginal delivery because during birthing classes you will be taught ways to manage your pain.
These help you and your baby align to facilitate an easier more gentle birth.
Your Partner Will Learn Too
The birthing classes are not only for your sake – they can be very beneficial to your partner, which in turn can also be more beneficial for you during the birth process.
Your partner will learn tips and techniques to help you during the first few hours of labor, so that you can be as calm and relaxed as possible. It will also help with pain management.
If you are fearful of the birth – and let’s face it, it is a very scary time – attending birthing classes can help you overcome fear and decrease your anxiety. Google is great for giving you answers to certain questions, but in this instance you probably want to be speaking to a more trained individual.
You will also be around other women who probably share your same concerns – it feels good to be part of a tribe.
Build Your Parenting Tribe Early
When you attend a birthing class you also meet other expectant parents who will have similar due dates to you. Building your parenting tribe early gives you a bunch of people to learn and grow with – as well as the fact that you know who to call when you need diaper cream in the early hours of the morning.
Connect With Your Body
A birthing class will give you that much needed time to connect with yourself, your body, and your partner.
A good birthing class will teach you what you can expect after the birth. We often spend a lot of time and money on learning how to deal with the pregnancy and birthing, but we forget about learning how to cope postpartum.
Stay In The Driver’s Seat
Child birth classes help you to stay in charge of your birthing experience. They teach you your rights and how to have complete control over the birth.
When you attend your classes you can also have that added emotional support, which is very important. Your experience and emotional well-being can affect what you need and your decisions about your pregnancy and birth.
When Should I Take a Childbirth Class?
Now that you know the benefits of attending a childbirth class, when you should actually start taking the classes? This will be a balance between giving yourself enough time to complete the class and also finishing it relatively close to when you give birth, so what you learned is fresh in your mind.
Some things you will learn that will be helpful during the second trimester include:
- Nutrition during your pregnancy
- Exercising during pregnancy and its benefits
- Fetal development
- Sex during pregnancy
Now what about the third trimester? The items below might be covered in your birthing class and be helpful for those in their third trimester.
- Labor and labor positions
- Pain management
- Possible medical interventions during labor
- Avoiding medical interventions when possible
- Postpartum care for you and your baby
At the end of the day – there is no exact right or wrong time to attend classes. We do recommend waiting until you are in your second trimester, but also making sure you can complete your class before giving birth.
If you register early, you at least have some flexibility and do not need to worry about classes filling up. But, as mentioned above there are some advantages to waiting until your are closer to your third trimester as well.
What Will I Learn In a Birthing Class?
Attending a birthing class can be a real eye-opener and it can also be very informative. There are so many things you will discover which you have not ever given thought to.
Here are some of the very helpful things you will learn when you are part of a birthing class.
Signs Of Labor
It goes without saying that knowing the signs of labor is super important. It can differ from person to person, but for the most part, what the childbirth educator tells you about the subject can definitely prepare you.
You will learn how to distinguish between real labor pains and Braxton-Hicks contractions. They will also tell you when you should be looking at heading to the hospital.
What is induction and when should you consider it? Induction is defined as the stimulation of uterine contractions before labor starts in order to achieve a vaginal birth.
Your birthing educator will tell you when you should be considering induction. If a pregnant woman is well over her due date or her labor is delayed, she will often end up being induced.
What Will Happen At Delivery
Knowing what to expect at the delivery can really help you through your anxiety as you approach that time. Although you may not be completely prepared, at least you will know what may occur.
Pain Management Options
There are many pain management options available to you. When you attend your birthing classes the facilitator will inform you of these.
Do not be afraid to ask for or accept pain killers or an epidural. The most important thing during your birthing experience is that you are as comfortable as possible and able to manage pain when bringing your little one into the world.
How To Push
Yes – there is a specific and safe way to push to facilitate an easier delivery of your baby. You will learn all about it in your birthing class.
Although you may not be wanting a C-section, sometimes it is unavoidable. If you or your baby go into distress during your labor, the physician is most likely going to opt for a C-section.
This will only be done if there is no other alternative. But, if you are electing for a C-section or have been recommended to have one by your physician, your birthing class will also inform you of what to expect.
After Delivery & Postpartum Recovery
This might be the most important lesson to be learned. Even though knowing how to approach your labor pains and delivery of your baby in the best possible way is extremely beneficial, knowing what to do postpartum is even more critical.
You will learn how to care for yourself after the birthing process. Postpartum recovery is intense. Your birthing class facilitator will give you much needed guidance on the best practices to make your postpartum recovery as easy as possible.
How Much Do Birthing Classes Cost?
Are you ready to invest in birthing classes? In person prices can vary greatly. Pricing will also depend on what classes you decide to take and how many classes you attend in a specific period of time.
The prices of classes also vary from hospital to hospital and by what state you reside in. To give you a general idea, I looked at my local hospital in Springfield, MA, and as of this writing their in person childbirth class costs $165.
Do your research first before committing to the first classes you come across. Additionally, as you read more below, you will see that there are two online birthing programs we highly recommend.
The recommended online classes (from Mommy Labor Nurse and Hilary of Pulling Curls) range in cost from $99-197, and they are worth every penny. Keep reading below for more information on these very affordable classes and why I recommend them.
Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Childbirth & Lamaze Classes?
The answer is no, not typically any way. So, start saving if you wish to take childbirth and Lamaze classes (it will be worth it).
Should I Take an Online or In Person Birthing Course?
Lately everything has gone digital and gone online. Zoom is definitely a huge gift and is really great for those who do not wish to leave their homes or want to take a class on their own time.
Whether you take an online or in person birthing course is entirely up to you. An advantage of in-person courses is meeting local expecting parents in your area. Plus, the course might have a more personal and intimate feeling.
However, if you sign up for online classes, you can take the class at your own pace and at the time that is convenient to you. And, although you will not meet local parents, you can connect with others in the private Facebook groups you are given access to.
What Online Birthing Classes Do We Recommend?
If you are interested in the online birthing class option, there are two I HIGHLY recommend! First of all, the reviews for both options are through the roof.
Additionally, these courses are taught by moms of 3, who also happen to be labor and delivery nurses, so needless to say they are experts, hence the amazing reviews. Finally, we recommend Mommy Labor Nurse courses if you are looking for classes catered to your birthing experience.
For example, if you plan to have a natural birth, an epidural, or a C-section, there is a specific course for you. Here is the list of offerings from Mommy Labor Nurse.
What if you are looking for a more general online birthing class that just covers everything? Or, one that is built for both you and your partner?
This is when we recommend the Online Prenatal Class For Couples from Hilary at Pulling Curls. You really can’t go wrong with whichever class or classes you choose.
Each one has so much to offer in order to prepare you for labor and delivery AND postpartum recovery.
More Inexpensive (or Free) Birthing Help
There are a few other things I want to share that will help you with birth. These options are either FREE or cost less than $5.
First up, you can register for FREE introduction online birthing classes to see if you like it. Then if you do, go ahead and register for the class itself.
Free options from Mommy Labor Nurse:
Free options from Pulling Curls:
Now last but not least, if you need some help making sense of what you need to do to prepare for birth, then I some really helpful birthing checklists for you!
- Labor Checklists Bundle (includes both a birth plan checklist & hospital bag checklist)
- Or, get just the Birth Plan Checklist
Should a Second Time Parent Take Birthing Classes?
In most cases probably not, especially if you took a class during your first pregnancy. But, what if things will be different this time around?
Maybe you are planning a natural birth or will have a C-section this time. In these cases, I highly recommend checking out the tailored online birthing classes from Mommy Labor Nurse.
If you are having a C-section, there’s a course built just for that, if you want a natural delivery there’s a course for that too. In case you missed it, here is the list of offerings to choose from.
What do you think? Are birthing classes really worth it and necessary?
Birthing classes are wonderful. Knowing what to expect at the delivery and how to take control of your birthing experience is very empowering and builds confidence.
When you are aware of what could happen during labor and how to manage it, your anxiety levels will decrease and your experience will be a lot more enjoyable. At the end of the day we do think birthing classes are worth it, do you agree?