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Is Birthing Class Right for You?

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Is a birthing class right for you?Should you take a birthing class?


But I’m guessing you were hoping for a more thought-out response than that.

While birth is a natural process that women’s bodies were designed to do, modern women understand very little about the birthing process until we experience it for ourselves, but even after experiencing birth we may be left with more questions, especially when things don’t go as we had imagined. Despite the care some women receive, pregnancy, labor and delivery are not illnesses. They are natural experiences that the woman is (or should be) an active participant in. Childbirth classes are designed to help women better understand how to be active participants and to learn what to expect from the time the first labor pain hits to when your little one is breathing his first breath.

Here are just a few reasons to enroll in a birthing class:


Of course this is an obvious answer, but it is an important one. As mentioned above, the average woman has never witnessed a birth, nor been present in a delivery room until she is in labor. Birthing classes give women important information on what labor will be like, what a woman might feel both physically and emotionally during labor, what the stages of labor are, how a woman’s body births a baby, along with other valuable information. Many classes explore pain management options. That could include discussion on what an epidural is, how it is administered and what affects it has on the mother and the baby. Some classes also discuss natural pain management through breathing, visualization, movement and positioning. By learning about the natural process of labor and the options that a woman might have at her disposal, she can make a more informed decision as to how she wants to approach her birth.


Birthing classes are a great way for the mother and father to bond before the baby comes, as they learn about and begin to anticipate what the birth could be like. The classes often help men better understand what the woman is experiencing, so he doesn’t feel quite so in the dark during the process.


Birthing classes can even lead to life-long friendships. Few things bond people more than experiencing a major life change together. When my husband and I took our birthing class seven years ago, we met a couple who lived in our neighborhood. Soon enough we started walking together, and inviting one another over for dinner and play dates. Seven years later, we are still friends and our children have grown up together.

Birth Planning

Believe it or not, birth is full of options and when a woman understands that, she can feel more empowered and more a part of the process. Better education and understanding of what she desires her birth experience to be are the starting points to feeling empowered. Many options exist for birthing classes. The important thing is to ask yourself what fits your personality, style and preferences, and choose accordingly. Most hospitals offer ones that include a tour of the facilities. Most areas also have classes on Lamaze, Bradley Method or other birthing philosophies.

Online classes even exist, allowing couples to complete the courses in the convenience of their homes and according to their schedules. For more information on this option, visit Birth Boot Camp, a 10-week course designed to teach couples about birth through accessible and comprehensive education.

Plan B

As much as we plan, birth doesn’t always go as we might hope. Take for example the woman I know who didn’t bother with learning anything about natural childbirth because she wanted an epidural the moment she felt her first contraction. What she didn’t plan on was the fact that her birth would go so quickly, she wouldn’t have time to receive an epidural. When I spoke with her a few months after her birth, she was still bitter about not getting an epidural. I said, “How can you be upset with such a fast delivery?” Her response was that she had planned to feel no pain. When she did feel the pain and didn’t have any relief from it, she didn’t know how to handle it. She was panicked and stressed. I’ve heard other women tell the opposite story of wanting an epidural-free labor, but in the midst of it they chose otherwise. Taking a birthing class allows for you to come up with a plan b by considering different options and becoming educated on what those options entail.

In the end, the knowledge learned in a birthing class can be some of the most valuable lessons you learn. I still remember our instructor using a doll and a cloth to mimic a baby traveling down the birthing canal. Instead of a fluid one-direction movement, the baby would drop a bit with a contraction and then retreat backwards a bit. It was a constant dance of back-and-forth, back-and-forth. The example took quite a bit of time and, yes, we found ourselves getting antsy at the display, but during my four hours of pushing with my first child, I recalled that visual. It reminded me that progress was being made, slowly but surely, even if it didn’t feel that way.
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MChurchHeadCrop10_10Meagan Church is a writer, children’s book author and Unexpectant’s mom-in-charge. She lives in the Midwest with her high school sweetheart, three children, two cats and one dog. Her passions include running, black coffee, and simple, yet intentional living. Connect with her on Twitter @unexpectant, Pinterest or Instagram. To learn more about her freelance writing, visit her website

{Please note: I am a Birth Boot Camp recruiter. While this post isn’t sponsored, I do receive a portion of the class fee from referrals.}

{Photo credit}

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