Childbirth education classes are designed to teach the expectant mother how to effectively cope with the childbirth experience through active participation, informed decision making, and noninvasive pain management skills.  There are a large number of classes that are offered for new and expectant mothers.  What classes are offered, of course, depends on the area in which you live, and what facilities are around.  Some childbirth classes can include:

–  Caring for your baby

–  Breastfeeding

–  Comfort breathing and relaxation for labor and birth

–  Preparing for Labor and Birth

–  New siblings class

–  Refresher class for repeat parents

Most childbirth classes for new mothers will cover a variety of topics, including the physiology of labor, relaxation, breathing and positioning techniques, pain management during labor, delivery, postpartum care and concerns, and often include a tour of the hospital or birthing center.  Often, a class is made available for both parents to attend, to teach the new father how to help his partner through labor. 

Spending time with other expectant couples allows you to share experiences, compare progress and swap stories. Many couples make life-long friends at these classes. Childbirth classes also provide an opportunity for the father to increase his involvement in the birthing process. This will benefit both of you since it will make him a more effective coach.

Some questions to ask about a particular class before signing up include:

–  Who sponsors the classes?

–  How many classes are there in a series?

–  Can you visit a class before you decide?

–  How long is each class?

–  How many couples are in each class?

–  Can you bring more than one support person or come alone?

–  What type of learning techniques are used?

–  What topics are covered?

–  Can the instructor provide references?

–  Where are the classes held?

–  What do you need to bring?

–  Is there a cost for classes? If so, will the instructor barter, provide a sliding scale or help file insurance?

–  Is the instructor certified or affiliated with any organization?

It is necessary for me to attend a childbirth class?