Should I Take a Childbirth Class?

The average wedding costs $30,000.

The average cost of basic childbirth education is $300.

I learned a few weeks ago that the average Bride spends about 11 hours a week planning her wedding. I know I spent a ton of time planning my wedding. I had to make sure every last detail was just right. So why is it that so many people spend so much time planning their weddings, yet when it comes to the birth of their child they tend to skip childbirth classes? Now this might not be true in your area. Where you live you might know that just about all of your pregnant friends took some sort of childbirth class; but near me, I have personally found that many are skipping this vital, and important step towards becoming parents.

When I’ve asked friends or clients what their reasons for not taking a class is, I usually get one of the following answers:

  • “It’s too expensive.”
  • “I don’t have time.”
  • “I plan on having my baby at the hospital with an epidural.”
  • “My husband is weirded out by those classes.”
  • “I read a book.”

It’s too expensive and I don’t have time.

Well if you made it this far into my little blog post you would have read the facts about weddings costing $30,000 and that the average bride spends eleven hours a week planning her wedding. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have $30,000 just sitting around that I can just freely spend at a moments notice. Typically these things are planned out and budgeted for. The same can be done with childbirth classes. Now what about time? Usually classes range from an hour to two hours once a week from anywhere from 6-10 weeks. There are so many benefits to taking a class that you are going to want to make the time. More on that later.

I plan on having my baby at the hospital with an epidural.

This is how most women in America give birth. Classes aren’t just for families who want to have an unmedicated birth outside of the hospital! With a class you will learn exactly what all your options are when it comes to laboring in a hospital. You will learn what you can expect, how you can prepare, what hospital policies are on certain things, and you will learn how an epidural works and what might be the optimal time for you to get one would be ( too soon and that might cause problems, and too late and you won’t feel the benefits! Don’t just trust me, ask your future childbirth educator). Believe me, there is so much more to having a baby in the hospital than just walking in and laying in bed for a few hours. You’re going to want to know about all your options and how you can have the best hospital birth EVER!

My husband is weirded out by those classes.

I get it. I do. My husband flinches if I even mention blood. Let’s get real here though, having a baby is a two person job. Your husband needs to be educated. He needs to learn that childbirth isn’t weird or gross, because it isn’t! It will benefit you both in the long run if he too knows what your body is going through and how he can best help be a part of the pregnancy and delivery process. So tell him to man up!

I read a book

So you read a book. Does your book know what local hospitals are like? Can your book guide you with very personal questions that only YOU have thought of? Is your book up to date or is it a year or two old on evidence and practices? Reading a pregnancy book is extremely important, but most books are never meant to replace a traditional class where you will receive individualized care and instruction.

What are the benefits of taking a childbirth class?

Taking a class will increase your overall confidence and pride in what your body is capable of doing. You will be able to discuss your fears with not only a trained and educated professional, but also other families who might have had or have the same fears and questions as you! Your partner will learn exactly what is happening to your body and how they can be a key player in making labor a success and support you in the best ways possible. You will also learn various pain relieving techniques, positions, massages, and so much more to help your labor progress and for you to find comfort. Your instructor will also be well versed in the practices of the local care facilities. They will be able to tell you what routinely happens at the local area hospitals, what to expect when you check into labor and delivery, and what extra information or education you might need.

Are all childbirth classes created equal?

Some education is better than none. Yet, not all classes are created equal. Being a Birth Doula often opens us various conversations with friends and acquaintances. I have heard about various “classes” some have gone to.

I once met a woman who was having her second baby and she opted to go to a formal 6 week childbirth class that was separate from the hospital she was delivering at. She told me that for her first pregnancy she signed up for the free class her hospital was offering. She then told me that that “class” pretty much consisted of a very annoyed nurse going over bullet points of what patients were expected to comply with once they came to the hospital. She did not receive an education, rather she was just told what paperwork the hospital wanted, that she wouldn’t be allowed to eat, and that she should just listen to the nursing staff and doctors. In the end, she had no idea what to expect once labor started, she didn’t know that she actually had options and rights as a patient, and she was left feeling very alone and lost with the process.

I highly recommend that families seek out an independent certified childbirth educator. With a certified educator you are almost guaranteed a thorough and easy to understand education that will leave you feeling empowered and ready to take the bull by the horns!!!

What class is best for me?

There are many different “methods” of education to choose from. Below are a list of my favorites.

Lamaze

Hypnobirthing

Birth Bootcamp

Take the time to explore those websites. Really think about which method you can see yourself using when it comes to preparing for the birth of your baby. If by the end of this article you have decided that you need to take a childbirth class, I am so happy! You won’t regret it.

If you are local to the Southern Maryland area and are looking for an EXCELLENT childbirth educator, please visit my good friend and colleague Shannon’s website to see her availability!

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