What should I know about childbirth classes?
There are several options for childbirth preparation classes, depending on where you live and the type of class you are looking for.
Hospital classes. Most hospitals offer a prepared childbirth class, during which you should get information about pregnancy and birth, how your body works, and the options available at that hospital. Classes vary on their coverage of coping techniques and ways to approach pain management, as well as their inclusion of holistic approaches. Some hospitals are beginning to acknowledge and include holism and complementary therapies, and this may be reflected in their childbirth classes as well. If you are considering a hospital-based class, be sure to ask about this.
Independent classes. Many independent (non-hospital) childbirth education organizations offer a holistic approach to pregnancy and childbirth preparation, and some specialize in preparing women who specifically wish to avoid medication during labor. Each of the organizations listed below offers different methods of preparing for a more holistic childbirth, although they also provide information about traditional medical options as well. Sometimes, you may have to travel to find an instructor who teaches these classes, or pay more than you would pay for hospital classes.
Below are links to the "philosophy" or "mission statement" on the website for several holistic or natural birth methods. From each of these sites, you can learn more about each method and find referrals for teachers or classes.