Childbirth Classes Are a Joke


blackboardFor the most part, I played the good girl during my pregnancy. Sure, I committed some major sins (like not taking prenatal vitamins), but otherwise I was overly cautious. I never flew, I never drank, and I stopped running. So, of course, I dutifully signed up (and paid a lot) for the childbirth classes my evil ob/gyn (that's another story) recommended. Bad move.

The nurse was a very prim conventional type who talked to us like we were all in the third grade. It was obvious she took pleasure in relaying all the scary bits of labor and delivery. And weirdly, the childbirth movie she showed us had absolutely nothing to do with the way our own deliveries would progress in the very un-natural hospital we were all giving birth in.

The couple in the film had a natural hospital delivery, no drugs, no monitors, no IV, a nice bath. The mom-to-be was free to walk around the room. I didn't want an IV or a monitor, I wanted to walk around the room. I wanted all the things I saw in the movie, but when I asked questions about things like fetal monitors, She'd say, "Oh you have to have that. We do it differently in our hospital." Then why are you showing us this movie, I thought.

She didn't spend nearly enough time teaching us breathing techniques and labor positions, which would have been helpful, but maybe she knew we'd all be induced, or strapped to a bed, or given C-sections.

Thankfully I had a doula who taught me all these things and more. She was a gentle, lovely woman who talked about childbirth frankly, but supportively. She was full of insight and helpful advice.

If I had to do it over again I wouldn't take a childbirth class. I'd talk to friends and family, my doula, and read some books.

Are you taking childbirth classes? What do you think of them?

Related posts:

delivery, labor & delivery


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

CherB... CherBearCM

With my first born I signed up for them but ended up cancelling because I wasn't doing well with my pregnancy.  We made it to one class.  We got the impression that she basically there to tell us how she gave birth, how she dealt with her pregnancies and how we should do things.  With my second born (12 years later) I didn't even bother considering it, my doctor didn't even recommend them. 

I did fine with both my kids, none of my nurses or doctors ever said "Hey you're not doing it right, you must not have taken birth classes!"  LOL 

I think nowadays there is just so much information available on the internet and in books that they aren't really necessary and I think they are just one person's view of how things should go and how things do go.  Even when my mom took them 25 years ago (for my sis) she didn't really end up getting much out of it. I can get all that without paying $200 for it.  Cafemom is a perfect place to come for that info, no shortage of stories here :)

Freela Freela

I think the issue is that the childbirth class you took did not prepare you for the birth your hospital expected you to have.  And that your hospital did not give you options for your birth besides their own narrow protocol. I didn't take the childbirth class the hospital offered- I took an independant birthing class taught by a doula and I found it enormously helpful.  I also think from reading that the hospitals in my area (Ontario) are more geared to support natural birth (I did get to go in, walk the halls, not have continual fetal monitoring, take a shower, and deliver without even an IV drip in place.)   I would definitely recommend a childbirth class, but I'm not that sure that I would recommend the ones offered through the hospital, as I think they are often geared towards supporting the hospital's policies moreso than actually helping the mother in an unbiased way.  JMO!

ccspi... ccspiratemama

I did not this time and had a much better l&d than I did with my first, 7 yrs ago.I remember thinking that time that I had to do the "right" breathing and getting all confused. This time I just listened to my body and didn't have any trouble at all- I was even coherent enough during delivery to be chatting with my nurses about tattoos in between pushing, lol!

LadyKiki LadyKiki

We loved our childbirth class. The teacher was very nice and she was great at answering any questions and showing films and explaining everything in them. We spent a good amount of time on breathing, hubby learning ways to rub my back, and such. Hubby took everything to heart and was so helpful when I was in labor. The class we took was excellent. We got to tour the delivery rooms and everything also during the class. That was really exciting :).

msnic... msnicole88

My midwives absolutely hated my fiance and I. In the beginning I chose not to breastfeed so I opted out of those classes. Of course, later on I changed my mind and when I told them excitedly they seemed a little annoyed and said it was too late to go to a class. The part I didn't understand (and still don't) is that the nurses in the hospital showed me how to nurse.
We also decided not to take childbirth classes which we got a lot of torment for. We knew we would get a lot of help in the hospital for things like changing, bathing, etc. As far as the actual birth went, I had a specific plan which ended up not going thru at all. The one thing I do look back and appreciate is that I was able to pretty much do everything naturally from labor to delivery. In my opinion, I had a traumatising experience giving birth and I really don't think any class could have prepared my fiance or myself.

ethan... ethans_momma06

I didn't take one with my first, and I don't plan on taking one this time around. However I think that it's important that women get some sort of birth education before the big day. Whether it's discussing it with other mothers, or reading a birthing book, I think walking in totally unprepared can be a huge shocker, which can result in a more difficult labor.

From everything I learned, I knew that my body could do it. I learned that I needed to relax and let my body do it's thing and not fight against it. But I also knew what the stages of labor were ahead of time, I knew what to expect. And I think, childbirth class or not- Thats what's important.

Lorel... LorelNicolette

I took a childbirth class with my first.  While midwives taught it, it was still from a highly medicalized perspective.  Probably because they worked for an OB office.  It taught more about the technology surrounding birth than what to expect from the natural process. 

I knew I had to take a different approach with this one.  I have found birthing books to be a great source of knowledge.  I also highly recommend a proven pain management program to anyone who is considering natural childbirth.  Personally, I found the Hypnobabies home study course to be an invaluable tool.

_muffin_ _muffin_

I took a Bradley Childbirth class with my first and it was great. I learned about nutrition and exercise (and why did you have to give up running? Exercise is great for pregnancy.) and the stages of labor as well as how to cope with the pain. I was very well prepared for labor and delivery. I think its all in the specific class you take. 


take a Bradley Method class  or just read the 2 books his and SUsan Mcclucheon (that would be like the equivilent of online degree you'll get what you put into it... and yes  all others are a joke  the instructors are well paid to get the most $$ for the person they are working for (hospital or Dr office) 

sodapple sodapple

i'm going to take one because i am trying for a vbac and i didn't go for my first pregnancy so well see how it goes, maybe it will be worth it or not but at least i would be able to say that i went =-/

1-10 of 25 comments 123 Last