While there are many ways to learn about pregnancy and childbirth — books, videos, websites, friends, providers, social media — nothing is more effective in preparing women and families for pregnancy and childbirth than independent childbirth education. We do not live with birth in the US and most of us doe not grow up watching other women give birth. Therefore, we can be vulnerable to anxiety and fear, along with myths and misconceptions about birth and standard maternity care practices.
Birth, becoming a mother, becoming a family are all major life transitions. Preparing for this transition with an independent childbirth educator can help you understand what to expect.
Childbirth education classes can provide important information about healthy pregnancy and birth, along with the opportunity to connect with other families, answer questions, address concerns, and provide tools for both partners for labor, birth, and breastfeeding.
What you can learn in a childbirth class
- Caring for your postpartum body for vaginal and cesarean births
- Basics of and resources for breastfeeding
- Signs of and resources for postpartum depression and related disorders
- Basic newborn care
- Prenatal and postpartum nutrition information
- Your post-baby relationship
from Giving Birth with Confidence post
Not all childbirth education classes are equally effective and you will want to ensure that you are comfortable with the approach being taught — explore some of the resources below to get a feel for how each addresses the process of childbirth education.
We recommend that, where available, you work with an independent educator who is teaching outside a hospital or provider practice (though that may depend on the educator). Working with an independent childbirth educator increases the likelihood that you will receive research based information and reduces the risk that you will learn only what the hospital or provider wants you to know.
Learn More about Independent Childbirth Education:
- Giving Birth with Confidence posts
- Choosing a Childbirth Class from Lamaze International
- The CAPPA Approach from Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association
- Why the Bradley Method? and Course Content from The Bradley Method of Husband-Coached Childbirth
- Role and Scope of the Childbirth Educator and How to Choose an Educator from International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)
- Expecting Parent Course Outline from Birthing As Nature Intended (BANI)
- BirthWorks Class Outline from BirthWorks International
- About HypnoBirthing from HypnoBirthing the Mongan Method
- For Parents from Birthing from Within
Find an Independent Childbirth Educator:
- Member Search at Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association (CAPPA)
- Find a Lamaze Childbirth Class at Lamaze International
- Find a Teacher at The Bradley Method Husband-Coached Childbirth
- Member Directory at International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA)
- Practitioners at Birthing as Nature Intended (BANI)
- Find a Childbirth Class at BirthWorks International
- Childbirth Classes at HypnoBirthing the Mongan Method