Should You Take a Childbirth Education Class?

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When my partner was pregnant with our first baby, we signed up for childbirth education classes. The course ran ten weeks and each class was a three-hour-long marathon (with a snack mid-way through so pregnant ladies, husbands, and partners could stretch their legs and re-fuel.) It was a pretty intense experience -- we learned a lot and we made great friends. But are childbirth education classes really necessary? Do they really help a woman through labor and delivery?

I read a smart piece on childbirth classes on Babble. Here are some highlighted pros for taking a class:

-- You can ask questions and see labor positions in person

-- Your educator will be a resource of information -- he or she can put you in touch with other experts or help you find additional info on something if you need it

-- A series of classes will allow you to gear up gradually as the birth approaches

-- You'll meet local couples in the same pre-baby boat you're in

-- Classes can help partners focus on the upcoming birth (you, of course, have a constant physical reminder)

Would I say our childbirth classes *really* helped my partner with the pain of labor and delivery? They gave us some strategies for coping. But more important, the classes prepared us for what can happen during labor and delivery in a hospital, and what happens to a woman's body during labor.

When I was pregnant with our second child (but it was my first pregnancy), we skipped the long course and did a one-time quickie session with an educator as a sort of mental refresher and get-focused session. And that was plenty for me.

If you take a birth class, you may be able to do so at your hospital (if they offer classes), with a private instructor, or with a yoga teacher. You may learn about Lamaze, the Bradley Method, HypnoBirthing, pain medications, how your partner can help, and more.

What about you? Are you planning on taking e a childbirth class? Why, or why not?

3rd trimester, baby prep, fathers, labor & delivery