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Did you find a natural childbirth "class" to be helpful?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hello! I was curious if anyone found a "prep class" to be of importance to their homebirth experience. We're expecting our second baby, and I deeply want this experience to be positive. I'm leaning toward believing that being at home, with trusted, caring midwives, will make all the difference, but some have claimed otherwise???

Over the past few years, I've become inherently distrustful of the medical establishment (esp. the medical model of care). I've also come to see some natural childbirth prep classes as cash cows rather than empowering experiences...and to me, some are downright chauvanistic and patronizing. Of course, it depends upon the "method" and the individual instructor. I know there are some great people out there teaching.

I'd love to hear from you!!! Thanks for any thoughts
post #2 of 20
We took a class from the local hospital for one baby (born in the hospital (which I absolutely hated) but with our dd (homebirth) we took Bradley classes which were much more about finding out what was comfortable for you and listening to your body and your baby. We got some really good information from the class and a lot of companionship from like-minded parents.
post #3 of 20
We took a Bradley class and I found it invaluable. I swear, before I started labor my husband knew more about normal labor and childbirth than many of the moms we knew. I was so impressed with the program that I am now studying to be an instructor. I can see where the cost might seem high, but when you divide it up by the hours of instruction it's really not that much. No one is doing it to get rich (that I can see). People do it because they have a passion for it.
post #4 of 20
I took a Childbirth Preparation class from our local independent birthing center. In the class of 10, there were 4 homebirths, 3 birth center births (us!), and 3 hospital births. We all felt the same way about birth being a natural process, etc, etc. Our instructors were a doula/massage therapist/belly dancer (fun!) and a midwife.

The class itself wasn't that informative for me (since I had been reading EVERYTHING birth related for 9 mos!)...and I wasn't even sure it was helpful at all until AFTER DS was born. I ended up reconnecting with all the women in the class, and now, 16 mos after our babes were born, we meet once a week every week! It's been an amazing support network, and group of like minded parenting friends that I never would have imagined I would have. As DH and I were leaving the last class, I remember thinking I didn't really care if I would ever see any of them again...just didn't "connect"! LOL! Now I talk to atleast one of them once a day!

With #2, I'm thinking I'll take the class again, not really for the info again. But to kind of get back in the mindset of healthy pregnancy/birth, etc.

As for your situation, though. I would think the class might be helpful if it were offered as a non-traditional focus, kwim? Like at a birth center, or with a bradley instructor, or midwives, etc. But going to a traditional "lamaze" class in a hospital setting I can understand might be a bit insulting, and not at the kind of energy you need before your birth.
post #5 of 20
We took a class through the birth center our midwives run - it is based on the Birthing From Within book. Since I read the book before hand, I didn't find the classes to be all that much more helpful, but it was nice to be around other parents. It was my first baby, so the issues of breastfeeding and labor pain were good to cover, and they handed out some great literature and stuff from magazines covering pain and why drugs are counterintuitive that I re-read the week before the birth to kind of psych myself up.
post #6 of 20
My midwives recommended Birthworks Classes for their homebirth patients. We loved them, they were a great place to learn more about birth, explore our feelings around birth, and practice some relaxation strategies.

I had a wonderful homebirth experience- the most important thing my class offered was a realistic idea of what birth is like. We watched videos of normal/nondrugged births, and best of all we listened to an audio tape of a laboring woman. I laughed when I started moaning, I sounded exactly like the tape, I think I maoned Eli right out of my body!

You can learn more about them here:


good luck on your homebirth,
post #7 of 20
We took a class with Penny Simkin (she wrote The Birth Partner and Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn and does classes here in Seattle). Our class was all homebirthers, and while I didn't really learn anything new, it was great to connect with a group of like-minded people. I made one very good friend in the group.
post #8 of 20

Yes for me

I loved my Bradley class. It really helped my husband and me learn about all the stages of labor. I think that is particularly helpful when you are laboring at home bc your midwife probably won't be with you the whole time. You can gauge for yourself progress, normalacy, etc. Plus they are very specific with suggestions on how to deal with each stage. (helpful to the anxious husband . . . )

I also found keeping track of what I ate each day (also part of the class) helpful. It keeps one aware of what she needs to eat for the health of the little one.

True, they do spend a good deal of time educating folks on how to deal with hospital procedures which are not a factor for a homebirther but the info is great--and it is a good way to meet like minded folks.
post #9 of 20
I am also expecting baby #2 in Nov, I had #1 at home and will do the same with #2. We did do classes with our midwives and other couples having home birth's with #1 and most likely will do some again. I think what was really excellent about our class was all the home birth videos my midwife shared with us. They were not her births but water births in Europe and this great movie on South American birthing as wellas mny other films available out there . I was amazed at how awsome women are while giving birth! I guess though, I still did not need much pumping up about "doing the right thing" by having my baby at home. I guess that comes from the fact that I was born at home as were all my bro's and sis's, and I am the oldest therefore seeing each of them come into the world. Hopefully you can get into a class that will encourage you and does not have to be eh main stream deal. Look around your area to see what is available you don't have to have a class that is at the hospital. Or maybe you know someone who had a homebirth that has a video they would share with you, my mom did this alot with people gearing up for homebirth with my birth. Well hope all goes well. Love Pookamama
post #10 of 20
Yes here! We also took Bradley method classes in Austin. We didn't get to finish, but delivered w/out pain meds anyway. It appealed to me because of the different style of breathing (I knew if I even tried Lamaze I'd hyperventalate!!!) That was the one thing that REALLY helped me get through the contractions at the hospitol (had bad back labor). I highly recommend it!

post #11 of 20
Our midwives have a homebirth PRep course they offer at the birthing center as a part of your prenatal care. We took that and found a Birthing From Within class in our area and took it too. I found both of them helpful - DH didn't really notice one way or the other he went on instinct for the most part but I have to say that his instince was GREAT! He sat there with me holdign me up moaning so low that I thing that the dogs werethe only ones that heard us! But it worked. I was surrounded by men (oddly enough) and I was more peacefulthat I think I have ever been.
post #12 of 20
We took Bradley for this birth (our second, due in a couple of weeks), and I'm very glad we did. I didn't gain much new information since I'm a voracious reader of all things birth related, but the relaxation and labor practices, the videos, and just the warm and supportive presence of the instructor were all worth the cost and time. Most of all, I'm the one who read a lot, not my husband. He's a busy guy with a packed schedule, but the class forced him to totally focus on our upcoming homebirth for a minimum of the class time every week. I think he was surprised by how much he didn't know even though we'd already had a baby. We both came away feeling even more ready and peaceful about our planned homebirth.
post #13 of 20
I took a Bradley class and it was indespensible. I am a voracious reader too, but the class gave me a chance to discuss different opinions with the instructor and other students. I had preeclampsia and ended up with the awful hospital experience I had hoped to avoid. But even though the hospital routine was pure torture, the Bradley relaxation and visualization stuff made the process of labor a pretty wonderful experience, believe it or not. When the nurse asked if I wanted pain killers I replied "no, it doesn't hurt" and I really meant it.

Even though you are planning a homebirth your never know what might happen. I hear that some doctors don't like Bradley because they think it makes their patients uncooperative. I say, knowledge is power.

post #14 of 20
We took the Bradley Method classes and I just loved them. They helped get me through delivering my twins at home. My husband knew what to expect as we got to each stage of birth. I really liked my instructor because she seemed to be on the same page as my husband and myself.
post #15 of 20
BRADLEY was awesome! I even want to take a second one with our next baby.
post #16 of 20
I did not find our Bradley class to be helpful--but that was because of the instructor, not the content. I found the reading materials to be very helpful.
post #17 of 20
I did HypnoBirthing and it really worked for me. Jude is my first child and he was borned as planned at home. I believe HypnoBirthing is one of the reasons that:

A. My labor started with my water breaking and I was fully dialated in 3 hours.

B. I experienced NO PAIN in those 3 hours.

C. Through labor I was joking, laughing and singing.

My HypnoBirthing instructor was really great. Her first child was born in the hospital drug and HypnoBirthing free. She said her experience was really rough. With her second child she practiced HypnoBirthing and planned an assisted homebirth. She did not really think she was in labor when the time came, because it did not hurt like #1. When she realized she needed to push, her midwife had not yet been called & her husband ended up catching the baby.

HypnoBirthing is not so much a "This is your birth canal..." type of class. It's a class that focusses on a techique to make labor pain-free and enjoyable. The HypnoBirthing book praises homebirth and offers much support.

I was a bit concerned about HypnoBirthing before I did it. I was afraid my instructor would pull out a pocket watch and try to hyp me. But, that wasn't it at all. It works very much like guided meditation and uses simple afirmations.

If you want to know more check out this link about hypnosis and childbirth. This is an actual clip from Dateline NBC show on hypnosis and childbirth. What these women experienced is very similar to what I did. It's so amazing-- take a look! http://innerrevelations.com/DateLineVideo.html

I should note that I had a complication during my labor and did feel pain for a while at one point. But it was a very short time of the whole labor. I will do HypnoBirthing if I should have another child.

Best Wishes!
post #18 of 20
With baby #1 we took childbirth classes from an independent instructor that my mw recommended. We didn't really enjoy them. It was all about verbalizing and that is just not me. I couldn't imagine myself chanting or groaning or yelling and I didn't. I was really quiet throughout labor. Anyway I had a successful labor overall.

With baby#2 we took hypnobirthing classes. I like the philosophy behind the technique. But my labor was far from "painless" as the instructor stated it would be. Hypnobirthing is a technique that must be practiced regularly. We didn't practice as much as we should have.

Anyway, I think that childbirth classes can be good for everyone, just take care to find an instructor that will support your choice for a homebirth.
post #19 of 20
Good point about HypnoBirthing, Beth. My instructor did stress that the more you practice, the better your results will be. I practiced the 10 minute HypnoBirthing tape every day as I was falling asleep (not that I ever stayed awake for the whole thing, which the program says is fine) and listened to the afirmation tape almost continuoously wherever I drove. I think that did make a big difference.

It's just about finding out what works best for you. It's great to read the other classes people have attended. Sounds like interviewing the instructor is very important.

Best Wishes!
post #20 of 20
We really loved the Birthing From Within class. 4 other couples, it was very intimate. The issues and fears that came up were handled with great equanimity, and it was deeply insightful. The pain practices really helped us understand our mind-habits toward dealing with pain.

Definitely helped the laboring process. I'd highly recommend it.
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