Is a Childbirth Class Really Necessary?
In short, the answer is no. Childbirth education is not a necessary component in the birthing process. But a childbirth class will help you and your partner or labor support better understand the birthing process. A comprehensive childbirth class will also provide you with information about the options you will have during labor and delivery, which can help you determine your preferences and make confident decisions throughout the process. The sense of security and lack of stress that comes along with this type of knowledge in labor is invaluable. A thorough class will also offer preparation for the postpartum period and education on newborn care, empowering you in your transition into parenthood.
But wait, can’t all of this information just be found on the internet? Yes, yes it can. But digging through the mountains of available information in order to determine what is helpful, dependable and factual would take a considerable amount of time and effort. In taking a quality childbirth class, you will be presented with reliable information in a way that is time efficient and easy to follow.
So, while childbirth education may not be necessary, it is certainly a wise step to take as you prepare to welcome your baby.
How is an Independent Childbirth Class Different?
Not all childbirth education is the same – and there are many options! The first choice to make in deciding on a class is whether you will opt for a hospital class or an independent class. Below I’m going to share ways independent childbirth education differs from that offered in a hospital setting.
1. Small Class Size or Private Class Options
Choosing an out-of-hospital option gives you the freedom to select a childbirth class based on class size. A smaller group size will allow your instructor to provide more time and attention working with each individual in the class, which is especially beneficial when practicing hands-on comfort techniques. A small class setting leaves more time for discussion and getting all of your questions answered as well as time and space for you to get to know the fellow parents-to-be that are your classmates.
If squeezing a childbirth class into your schedule seems tricky (there is so much to do in just 9 short months!), most independent childbirth educators offer private classes, enabling you to schedule your class sessions for whatever time is convenient for you. While a private class may lack the camaraderie with fellow expecting parents, it does guarantee 100% individualized mentorship from your instructor.
2. An Educator & Mentor Invested in YOU
When you register for an independent childbirth class, you are hiring an instructor who works directly for you rather than for a hospital or other establishment. Depending on the hospital, routine practices can sometimes be between 15-20 years behind the current research. Independent childbirth educators are not employed by the hospital to teach a hospital-based program, and are, therefore, not required to teach within the parameters of hospital policies. An independent childbirth class can be a great resource for up-to-date, evidence-based information as well as a place to develop skills for respectfully speaking up for yourself, your partner and your child in communicating with your care provider.
3. A Personalized Experience
One more benefit of choosing an out-of-hospital childbirth class is that you have the opportunity to fully customize your experience. There are many different types of classes, each with its own philosophy and method. When selecting an independent childbirth class, you can make a decision based on:
- The philosophy and curriculum – Is the course material compatible with your vision of an ideal birth experience and does it support your values surrounding birth?
- The method – Is the course interactive with hands-on practice of techniques, or is it presented as information only? Is the course available in person or online?
- The instructor – Does the instructor share your values surrounding birth and do you they make you feel comfortable? Find out what their past students are saying through testimonials & reviews and send them an email to get all of your questions answered before signing up to be sure their class is a good fit for you.
Where Can I Find a Class?
If you’ve decided that you would like to take an independent childbirth class, one great option is the Evidence Based Birth® Childbirth Class, which is designed to offer mentorship & information surrounding the labor process, evidence based care, comfort measures, and advocacy – and it’s available completely online!
More information about the EBB Childbirth Class can be found on the EBB Website