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Childbirth Classes

Now, more than ever, mothers and their partners are educated and involved before and during the birth of a child. Before you decide where to take a childbirth preparation class you need to learn about the different class options. Your birthing experience is very important and childbirth educators recognize and respect the differences among women's choices for delivery. How you feel about labor and pain management may determine which teaching method you feel most comfortable using. The leading methods of childbirth education are:

  • Lamaze - emphasizes controlled pain management through relaxation and breathing exercises; familiarizes couples with hospital routines and provides information of pain.

  • Bradley Method - emphasizes the natural approach to birth and avoidance of medications unless absolutely necessary; this method teaches importance of diet and exercise during pregnancy, deep breathing techniques to manage pain, and encourages partner inclusion in the birth process.

  • McMoyler Method - an updated, medically-savvy approach for preparing today's expectant parents for the biggest event of their lives. Teaches effective pain management and relaxation techniques, focuses on partner support, and insists all birth options - natural, pain managed and c-section - are equally viable birth options.

Classes should prepare parents by imparting knowledge about changes during pregnancy, stages and characteristics of labor, and breathing and pushing techniques. Procedures and options including medications, epidurals, anesthesia, cesarean birth and postpartum care should also be discussed.

Childbirth educators who are trained and certified by an accredited orgnization such as Lamaze International (ASPO), the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth (AAHCC), and the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), should have a complete understanding of labor, and the delivery expertise needed to encourage and assist the mother with enthusiasm. Most hospitals offer classes through their education program, but you should feel free to explore other childbirth class options beyond what's offered by your hospital. Class options include:

  • Hospital classes
  • Weekend classes
  • Refresher classes
  • Private classes in your home
  • Smaller classes privately taught at another facility
  • Childbirth classes on videotape
  • Classes for parents expecting multiple births
  • Classes for women anticipating a vaginal birth after a cesarean section (VBAC)
  • Perinatal fitness classes
  • Breastfeeding classes

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