The Top 7 Birth Classes - Which Is for You?

When deciding between different types of birthing classes, it is important to consider a few things: 

  • Do I want to take a course for the social aspect? 
  • How best do I learn/Am I motivated to complete an online course? 
  • Am I looking for a rigid style of birthing class or simply wanting information? 

As we go through many of the different types of birth courses available across different platforms, I encourage you to also look at local options. In many cases, locally led and created courses can be great options for meeting other expecting parents and getting to know your local birthing community better.

The Bradley Method

First, we will dive into one of the more popular methods of birthing courses. The Bradley Method is focused on the idea that birth is a marathon, and you are the runner. The Bradley Method does a great job at partner inclusion, which can be great, but if your partner is not interested or if you do not have a partner, some aspects of this method can be challenging. I most commonly recommend the Bradley Method to athletes who are or have been driven by more athletic thinking in the past.

Hypnobirthing

There are a few different Hypnobirthing courses out there, but some of the more commonly known courses are the Magda Gerber Method, Hypnobabies, and The Curtis Method. Each has similarities in utilizing hypnosis or a deep state of meditation as their tool of choice. However, they differ in certain aspects, specifically the course materials, the visualizations, and the meditations. 

There is a book that is made for those wanting to learn more about the Magda Gerber Method, and this method is the one that has been around the longest. Hypnobabies offers in-person, hybrid, and online courses, and the Curtis Method is the newest. Still, it is gaining popularity and provides a live online class, in-person courses, and a home study option. I often refer clients who want a more peaceful and serene birth towards this method, as well as yogis and spiritualists.

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Lamaze

The Lamaze method is another one that has been around for a long time and is very well known. The Lamaze courses focus on building a birthing person’s confidence levels and teaching them many tools, including breathwork, relaxation techniques, positioning, and massage. This course is excellent for individuals who want more than one tool in their back pocket and want to go with a tried and true program that has been around for an extended period.

From here, I will talk about the different birth courses that are less method-based and more well-rounded and focus more on the educational pieces of childbirth education.

Tinyhood

This online birth course platform allows for an a-la-carte type of picking and choosing. Tinyhood offers courses for expecting parents, parents with a newborn, parents with a toddler, parenting safety, nursing, introduction to solids, grandparent preparation, baby care, postpartum, adoption, and parental mental health. I love recommending these courses because they can be done in your home, you can pick and choose what you want to learn about, and they can guide you throughout the many parts of parenthood. The membership is affordable and does offer some type of community through the group classes. The downside is that these courses are not provided in person like the above three courses are.

Birth Smarter

Birth Smarter is a company near and dear to my heart because they work hard to include all types of birthing parents and families. I love that they offer online and in-person courses for individuals in Utah, Arizona, Canada, and New York City. Again, this is a course that deep dives into everything that expecting parents need to know going into having their baby(s) and offers another course on lactation, newborn care, and postpartum. One thing I love about this course is that they offer support groups where parents can meet up and talk about life’s challenges and wins and even meet with professionals who can provide guidance through this new experience.

Built To Birth

Built to Birth takes the Lamaze class and slightly levels it up. One great thing about this course is that it offers a free 30-minute childbirth education mini-course that parents can utilize to get a quick overview, see if they like the style of childbirth education that Built to Birth offers, and view if life is too busy for an entire course. Similar to Tinyhood, Built to Birth offers a-la-carte courses, and it differs because instead of only having the option to pay for a membership, you can also choose to pay for each class individually.

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Hospital Birthing Courses

This is the last course I will talk about in this article due to time, and I only bring it up because these are the most commonly taken childbirth education courses out there. Things to consider: 

  • Does the hospital staff run this course? 
  • What will they be covering in this course? 
  • Is this course directed towards medicated or unmedicated birth? 
  • Will this course teach self-empowerment through birth or how to be a good patient for the hospital staff? 

Not all hospital birthing courses are created equally. As a general rule of thumb, I do not recommend them simply because, in most cases, they are there to help educate on how to be a good patient and what a great hospital they are. In some cases, a third party will teach through the hospital, and in these scenarios, it can be an excellent childbirth education course. If you are going this route, I would recommend doing some research beforehand so that you don’t take a course with little to no benefit.

I recommend childbirth education courses for all first-time parents or for parents who want to have a natural birth for the first time. Childbirth education courses will help you know what questions to ask your care providers, feel confident in your birthing body and ability to advocate for yourself and your baby, and have more knowledge and power in your birthing space. 

I took a childbirth education course for all three of my pregnancies to re-up on learning different coping techniques and get to know other expecting parents in my community. Remember that you are only as empowered as you are educated. It can be incredibly beneficial to have a solid childbirth education course under your belt as you go through this epic and wild journey into parenthood.

 

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