Choosing a Childbirth Class
Whether you’re a new mom or you’ve taken this journey before, it’s important to have the support you need. Gain confidence during this new transition with a childbirth class—you’ll be able to connect with fellow parents-to-be and get answers to your questions from experienced childbirth educator.
Find a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator
Looking for a trusted partner to help you navigate your pregnancy and birth? Use the Find a Lamaze Class tool to connect with a childbirth educator in your area.
Five Factors to Consider
Every childbirth class is unique, and it’s important to find the one that best fits you. Begin your search in the first half of your pregnancy so that you have the best chance of attending the class of your choice. As you’re searching, be sure to explore a few things before you commit to one:
Call a few instructors and ask about their curriculum, teaching methods (there should be a variety) and fundamental beliefs about pregnancy and birth. Look for an instructor who offers a wide array of coping strategies for labor and can address effective ways to communicate with your healthcare team. It’s important that your instructor provides current, well-researched information—not just hospital rules. A good instructor shares all of the information you need to make informed decisions. The class itself should be taught in a way that makes you feel empowered and respected—and hopefully allows you to have fun as you’re learning.
Tip: A Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) is recognized by the only childbirth educator certification program accredited by the NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies). They have demonstrated specialized skills and passed an international examination that meets the highest professional standards.
Classes are held in hospitals, birth centers, health-care providers’ offices, homes or other community locations. In-home classes and online education are another option. You could sign up where you plan to give birth, but be sure that the topics covered meet your needs.
Tip: Again, if you attend hospital-based classes, be sure that they do not simply present the hospital’s rules. View the Lamaze webcast “Getting the Most Out of Your Hospital Tour” for more tips.
A small childbirth education class is ideal—it will offer you more personal attention from the instructor and more time for questions and answers.
Tip: If you have a busy schedule, private classes are another great option.
- Duration You may benefit from a course that meets several times over the course of five or six weeks, since you’ll be able to review content from past classes at the start of each new session—repetition that helps you better remember information. In addition, the time between classes will allow you and your partner to reflect on what’s been discussed and ask questions as they arise. You may enjoy being able to share your experiences with a group of people approaching parenthood at the same time.
Tip: A class that meets over the course of several weeks also provides you with support for a longer duration than an intense weekend-long class.
Be sure to find a class that explores these important topics:
- The normal, natural process of labor and birth, and health-care practices that support it
- Changes during late pregnancy and the stages of labor
- The important role that pain plays in labor and a wide variety of coping strategies for managing it
- The importance of labor support
- Movement and positioning during labor and birth
- Medical interventions and their indications, risks and alternatives
- How to communicate with your healthcare provider
- Developing a birth plan
- Breastfeeding and newborn needs
- Local resources to support you during and after pregnancy
- Class Participation
Your partner will be an important source of support through your labor and birth—it’s key to find a class that allows them to participate and ask questions they may have. When you come to class, be prepared to focus, and do any assigned reading beforehand. Remember that you can speak with the childbirth educator after class if you’re not comfortable asking a question in front of the group. Be open to learning and allow yourself to be amazed by the natural process of birth and the part you are playing.
Additional important information: