Very often one of the the first steps after the news of the pregnancy settles in – is to look for a childbirth education class. With so many options available you may feel overwhelmed and not know which class is the right fit. Should you take a class in-person, or online (aka you don’t have to leave the couch)? Should you spend time preparing for a natural birth, or one with an epidural or even a c-section? Unlike our mothers before us, as these questions begin to surface the mothers-to-be of our generation will take to google to figure out which route is best for them. In this blog we’ve done the work for you – and added a new, modern alternative that we’re admittedly biased about. Let’s dive in, shall we?
If your mother (or grandmother) took a childbirth class, chances are it was Lamaze – it’s been around that long. Popularized by a French obstetrician by the same name in the 1950’s, the method prepares families for labor and birth through presentations on massage, breathing, and movement. Lamaze International has grown steadfastly since the 1950’s and is widely recognized when one thinks of childbirth education. The core of Lamaze’s teaching are based on the Lamaze Six Healthy Birth Practices; letting labor begin on its own, movement during labor, continuous labor support, avoiding unnecessary interventions, following mother’s urge to push, and keeping mother and baby together after birth. You can take a Lamaze class in-person, and limited classes are also available online.
Hypnobirthing has gained popularity in recent years with the uptick in the desire for a natural childbirth. There are many hypno-based classes available, and all of them focus on teaching students self-hypnosis which is said to facilitate deep relaxation throughout the labor and birth experience. To create the state of self-hypnosis, the mother uses visualizations, suggestions and affirmations that she has practiced prenatally. Very often in labor the mother will be listening to one of her guided visualizations to aid her in creating her state of self-hypnosis. Self-hypnosis during labor is said to reduce the fear and pain of a natural childbirth. Hypno-style classes are available in-person in most areas, and some are available online for self-paced study.
The Bradley method was popularized by Dr. Bradley’s book, Husband Coached Childbirth, in the 1960’s, and continues to be a popular way to prepare for a natural childbirth. The premise of Bradley is to empower the husband, (or birth partner) to be able to advocate for his birthing person while in labor. It also relies on the premise that birth is a natural process and mothers should prepare for it through education, diet, and exercise during their pregnancies. Bradley strongly supports having a labor coach throughout labor and birth, and very often this is the birth partner, or husband. Bradley classes are in-person and twelve weeks long.
Arrow Birth is definitely the new kid on the block as far childbirth education goes with their cutting-edge digital platform. Arrow’s Discover Birth Education Course is entirely online and geared towards today’s modern parents. Discover prepares you for any type of birth you may have – natural, medicated and/or cesarean. It was important to the founders to teach every type of birth because experience (as long time doulas) taught them you never know how babies may want or need to be born. Discover is taught by 35+ childbirth related experts such as OBGYNs, midwives and doulas on topics they know best so students are always getting information from the correct source. The conversational-style expert interviews are refreshingly engaging and the videos are easy to watch when it’s convenient for you.
There are many options when it comes to educating yourself for the magical and momentous birth of your baby. Just like we would tell you in labor and birth – explore your options and make an informed decision that’s best for you and your (growing) family. Happy Birthing!